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All My Life

Scripture References

Thematically related:

Further Reflections on Scripture References

The primary reference is Psalm 73.
This song contains many allusions to Job’s cries during the three cycles of his speeches with his three friends. They are found in passages such as, Job 6-7, 9-10, 12-14, 16-17,19,21, 23-24, and 26-31.
When st.5 refers to the new song and the changed vision, we find references in Genesis 50:15-21, Job 42, and John 9:1-12.

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

When he wrote this song, Ken Medema was reflecting the confused cry of the Psalmist in Psalm 73. Yet notice how the Psalm (and song) is not totally a cry of confusion, but also moves toward an expression of faith, “For God has changed my vision...” (stanza 5). When Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 10, Question and Answer 28 reflects on God’s providence, it provides the same changed vision and in a beautiful testimony claims we can not only be “thankful when things go well” but can also be “patient when things go against us” and “we can have good confidence in our faithful God and Father that nothing in creation will separate us from his love.”

Additional Prayers

You, O Lord, have placed your hand upon us.
We need not run from you in shame.
You, O Christ, have placed your life within us.
Our lives will not end in isolation or obscurity.
You, O Holy Spirit, are nurturing your passion within us.
Turn us from vanity and reckless desire.
Father, Son, and Spirit, we give you thanks and praise. Amen.

Tune Information

Hymn Story/Background

In July 2010, Ken Medema participated in a Psalm Colloquium organized by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, an event to explore what eventually resulted in the publication of Psalms for All Seasons (2012). At that colloquium, as John Witvliet taught on how different psalms called for different musical settings and how some psalms “shifted gears,” Ken sat down at the piano and tried out his new setting of Psalm 73, to everyone’s delight. The psalmist had been singing “a jealous song” (st. 1), thinking that walking the way of God got him nowhere (st. 2) since the wicked still rule (st. 3)—why? (st. 4). Then in v. 17 comes the “gear shift,” at the word until. All seemed pointless until his vision was corrected in worship. The setting in Psalms for All Seasons includes a B section of music that covers that shift in perspective; in Lift Up Your Hearts, the B section of music is not included; instead, those psalm verses are to be read, finally concluding with the joyful reprise of the beginning music—which fits if those verses are indeed read—or if the B section is sung by a soloist or choir from the setting in Psalms for All Seasons.
— Emily Brink

Author and Composer Information

Ken Medema (b. Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1943) is a song writer, composer, recording artist, and story-teller through music. Blind from birth, Ken began playing the piano at age five and studied classical music by reading Braille. He graduated from Grand Rapids Christian High School and studied music therapy at Michigan State University in Lansing, Michigan. As a music therapist in both Indiana and New Jersey, he began writing songs for hurting teenagers, an experience that helped to launch a career of writing songs on Christian life that has taken him to venues large and small all over North America and beyond. He responds to what he hears and sees in his heart at particular events, often improvising songs on the spot, offering compassion, honesty and desire for integrity in both worship and life. In 1985 he began Brier Patch Music, which continues to publish his music and recordings, including 26 CDs. 
— Emily Brink
Hymnary.org does not have a score for this hymn.