26. LORD, Speak for Me, for I Am Yours

Text Information
First Line: LORD, speak for me, for I am yours
Title: LORD, Speak for Me, for I Am Yours
Versifier: Marie J. Post (1983)
Meter: CM
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Topic: Laments; Temptation & Trial; Church (1 more...)
Copyright: Text © 1987, CRC Publications
Tune Information
Composer: Leo Sowerby (1962)
Meter: CM
Key: E♭ Major
Copyright: Tune © 1964, Abingdon Press. Used by permission.

Text Information:

A prayer of the godly asking to be spared from the death God has appointed for the wicked.

Scripture References:
st. 1 =vv. 1-2
st. 2 =vv. 2-3
st. 3 =vv. 4-5
st. 4 =vv. 6-7
st. 5 = v. 8
st. 6 = vv. 9-10
st. 7 = vv. 11-12

Psalm 26 appears to have been occasioned by a serious illness or some other mortal threat. In singing this lament, we share in the psalmist's appeal for God to examine the deepest commitments and moral integrity of the human heart (st. 1-2). Examples of that integrity follow: the psalmist is no partner with the morally corrupt (st. 3), worships with clean hands and a tongue that celebrates God's mighty deeds (st. 4), and loves the holy temple where God's glory dwells among the people in a marvelous display of grace (st. 5). Finally, the poet pleads with God for deliverance from the death designated for the wicked (st. 6) and confesses confidently that God will hear and give renewed occasion for praise (st. 7). Marie J. Post (PHH 5) versified this lament in 1983 for the Psalter Hymnal.

Liturgical Use:
Service of confession and forgiveness; Lent; occasions when an individual or the church is severely threatened.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

Leo Sowerby (b. Grand Rapids, MI, 1895; d. Port Clinton, OH, 1968) composed PERRY in 1962 at Put-in-Bay, Ohio, the site of an international peace monument and the place from which Commodore Oliver H. Perry (then a lieutenant) sailed to gain a naval victory during the War of 1812. The tune was originally composed for James A. Blaisdell's "Beneath the Form of Outward Rite" and was first published in The Methodist Hymnal (1964). PERRY is composed in the style of Scottish psalm tunes, but it has a delightful alternation of 2/2 and 3/2 time. The accompaniment should be firm but subdued, but play the last stanza brighter.

Sowerby moved to Chicago at the age of fourteen to study with Calvin Lampert. In 1913 the Chicago Symphony gave the first public performance of his violin concerto. At the age of fifteen Sowerby decided to become an organist. He took some lessons, but because he found practice time on the organ too expensive, he sketched the pedal keyboard on brown butcher paper and laid the paper beneath the piano, thus teaching himself to play the organ. From 1921 to 1924 Sowerby studied at the American Academy in Rome as the first recipient of the "Prix de Rome." After his return to the United States he taught music at the American Conservatory in Chicago (1925-1962), was organist and choirmaster at St. James Episcopal Church there, and earned a doctorate in music from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. In 1962 he moved to Washington, D.C., to organize the College for Church Musicians at National Cathedral. A respected composer of numerous instrumental works and some three hundred songs, Sowerby received many commissions and awards, including the Pulitzer Prize in 1946 for his oratorio Canticle of the Sun, which has lyrics taken from the famous text by Francis of Assisi. A member of the joint commission that revised the Episcopal Hymnal 1940, Sowerby is known for his prolific output of organ works, choir anthems, and service music.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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