Friday 20th November 2020
𝐓𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐃𝐚𝐲 – 𝐋𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐚 𝐖𝐡𝐢𝐭𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐡
𝐏𝐑𝐀𝐈𝐒𝐄 𝐌𝐘 𝐒𝐎𝐔𝐋, 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐊𝐈𝐍𝐆 𝐎𝐅 𝐇𝐄𝐀𝐕𝐄𝐍
Psalm 103: 1- 2:
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”
The hymn “Praise my soul, the King of Heaven”, written by Henry Francis Lyte (1793 – 1847) is based on Psalm 103. It is regarded as a very stately hymn of praise – one which has probably begun more solemn ceremonies than any other English hymn. It is a Psalm of David celebrating the Lord’s abundant goodness and love for his people.
It was chosen 73 years ago by Queen Elizabeth when she married Prince Philip on 20 November 1947 in Westminster Abbey, which was the day of the centenary of Lyte’s death.
Another of Lyte’s famous hymns is the well-loved and comforting hymn “Abide with Me” – based on the story of the Road to Emmaus.
The story of Lyte’s hymn-writing goes back to the time when he was a curate in Cornwall, where he’d gone after spending his college days in Dublin. There in Cornwall, when he was 25, he had a deep religious experience caused by the illness and death of a brother clergyman. The death of this friend made Lyte study his Bible and preach in a different way from how he’d done it previously.
He became a poet with a religious message.
The verses of this hymn capture so beautifully the feel of Psalm 103. In the last verse, in particular, we find the writer bringing the whole of God’s universe into the act of praise.
Angels, help us to adore him – Ye behold him face to face
Sun and moon, bow down before him – Dwellers all in time and space
Alleluia, alleluia – Praise with us the God of grace.