Thursday, August 10, 2006

O God Beyond all Praising

You may well know Michael Perry's brilliant and exciting words to the rousing Holst tune from Jupiter, called Thaxted, frequently used for 'I Vow to Thee my Country'.

The words being so great and the tune so well-known, Andy & Amanda Martin wanted to use it at their wedding. But Andy wondered if another verse might be added, so he & I sat down to look at it. We thus composed two more verses, leading to a broader trinitarian content within the hymn whilst keeping Perry's excellent verses first and last. Below is what we came up with. If it is useful to you, please do make use of it!

[At Christ Church, Mayfair, where I plan the services and run the music group, we have sung Perry's original on Remebrance Sunday because people recognise and even expect the tune, but we don't want to sing the words of 'I Vow to Thee my Country'. We have also used 'Before the Throne of God Above' to Jerusalem, for similar reasons. If you top and tail a service with those two, you thereby give your visitors enough of what they expect for them to (a) listen to the sermon and (b) hopefully come back again. Well that's the plan, at any rate!]

Verses 1 & 4 (c) Michale Perry, 1996.
Verses 2 & 3 (c) Andy Martin & Andrew Towner, 2006.

O God beyond all praising,
We worship you today
And sing the love amazing
That songs cannot repay;
For we can only wonder
At ev'ry gift you send,
At blessings without number
And mercies without end:
We lift our hearts before you
And wait upon your Word,
We honour and adore you,
Our great and mighty Lord.

We praise you gracious Father
For giving us your Son;
He reigns o’er every other
Now victory is won:
He bled to bear your anger,
He took the guilt of sin;
Our hearts and minds remember
We died to death in him.
The marvellous work at Calvary
Means life will never end;
The death he died has set me free,
My King is now my Friend.

We magnify the Spirit,
Who raised him from the grave,
Though Satan strove to thwart it,
New life to us he gave.
We live to serve our Captain
We strive to please our Lord.
The Spirit makes us certain
That heavenward we’re called.
Christ raised! We tell this story,
To God we raise this hymn
Who chose us for his glory -
To live and reign with him.

Then hear, O gracious Saviour,
Accept the love we bring,
That we who know your favour
May serve you as our king;
And whether our tomorrows
Be fill'd with good or ill,
We'll triumph through our sorrows
And rise to bless you still:
To marvel at your beauty
And glory in your ways,
And make a joyful duty
Our sacrifice of praise.


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