292

There Where the Judges Gather

Scripture References

Thematically related:

Further Reflections on Scripture References

Interpretations of Psalm 82 vary on many details, but one thing is clear: the psalmist has seen–and most likely experienced–that those who wield authority on earth are prone to promoting injustice rather than defending the powerless and oppressed (see also 58). Yet God sits in judgment as the great King over all such rulers (st. 1), calling them sternly to account (st. 1-2). In spite of their arrogant confidence in their power (st. 2), the LORD will terminate their little season of authority with death. In faith the psalmist sees the supreme Judge presiding over the heavenly court and prays for God to establish his righteous rule over all the nations on earth (st. 3). In the post-exilic temple liturgy, this psalm was sung at the time of the morning sacrifice on the third day of the week. Henry Zylstra (b. Platte, SD, 1909; d. Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 1956) prepared the versification in 1953 for the 1959 Psalter Hymnal; it was slightly altered for the 1987 edition.
 
Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Any song or testimony about the cries that comes from our nations and cities must be met with confessional statements about the mission of the church as listed here.
 
Our World Belongs to God, paragraphs 41-43 are explicit and pointed about the mission of the church: “In a world estranged from God, where happiness and peace are offered in many names and millions face confusing choices, we witness—with respect for followers of other ways—to the only one in whose name salvation is found: Jesus Christ.”
 
Later, Our World Belongs to God, paragraphs 52-54 point to the task of the church in seeking public justice and functioning as a peacemaker: “We call on our governments to work for peace and to restore just relationships. We deplore the spread of weapons in our world and on our streets with the risks they bring and the horrors they threaten…”
 
The Belhar Confession, section 3 calls the church to be a peacemaker, and section 4 calls the church “to bring about justice and true peace.”
 
Our Song of Hope, stanza 10 calls the church to seek “the welfare of the people” and to work “against inhuman oppression of humanity.”

Additional Prayers

Sovereign Lord,
your justice and your mercy surpass what we can know or imagine.
Open our eyes so that as we feed the hungry, welcome the stranger,
tend the sick, visit the prisoner, and defend the weak,
we may see your Son, Jesus Christ,
and be welcomed into the kingdom he has prepared for us. Amen.

Tune Information

Name
MEIRIONYDD
Key
D Major
Meter
7.6.7.6 D

Hymn Story/Background

Interpretations of Psalm 82 vary on many details, but one thing is clear: the psalmist has seen–and most likely experienced–that those who wield authority on earth are prone to promoting injustice rather than defending the powerless and oppressed. Yet God sits in judgment as the great King over all such rulers (st. 1), calling them sternly to account (st. 1-2). In spite of their arrogant confidence in their power (st. 2), the LORD will terminate their little season of authority with death. In faith the psalmist sees the supreme Judge presiding over the heavenly court and prays for God to establish his righteous rule over all the nations on earth (st. 3). In the post-exilic temple liturgy, this psalm was sung at the time of the morning sacrifice on the third day of the week. Henry Zylstra (b. Platte, SD, 1909; d. Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 1956) prepared the versification in 1953 for the 1959 Psalter Hymnal.
 
William Lloyd composed MEIRIONYDD, which was first published in manu­script form with the name BERTH in Caniadau Seion (Songs of Zion, 1840, ed. R. Mills). The tune is named after the Welsh county Meirionydd in which Lloyd lived; that county is also the site of the Harlech Castle made famous in story and song.
 
Although generally attributed to Lloyd, MEIRIONYDD could be a traditional Welsh melody that he arranged. Shaped in bar form (AABC), the tune is set in sturdy rhythms and harmonies for choral singing. Compared to the typical triadic outlines in Welsh melodies, this tune is more stepwise. Sing it rather boldly, in balance with the tone of the text.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Henry Zylstra (b. Platte, SD, 1909; d. Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 1956) earned an undergraduate degree at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan; studied German literature at Iowa State University; and received his Ph.D. in compara­tive literature from Harvard University. From 1943 to 1956 he taught in the English department at Calvin College. His tenure there was interrupted by service in the United States Navy (1943-1945), during which he received the Bronze Star for "unusu­ally meritorious service." He was studying under a Fulbright professorship at the Free University of Amsterdam when he died of a heart attack in 1956. A founder of Reformed Journal, Zylstra was a greatly esteemed teacher and leader at Calvin College and in the Christian Reformed Church. His writings on education and on the relationship between culture and the Christian faith were especially valued; many of his essays were collected posthumously in Testament of Vision (1958). His translations of theological works from Dutch into English were also of a high calibre. From 1951 until his death Zylstra served on the committee that prepared the 1959 Psalter Hymnal.
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

William Lloyd (b. Rhos Goch, Llaniestyn, Caernarvonshire, Wales, 1786; d. Caernarvonshire, 1852) composed the tune, MEIRIONYDD, which is named after the Welsh county Meirionydd in which Lloyd lived; that county is also the site of the Harlech Castle made famous in story and song. A cattle farmer and dealer, Lloyd was also a self-taught musician. He had a fine voice and conducted various singing societies in his hometown as well as in other cities.
— Bert Polman
Hymnary.org does not have a score for this hymn.