507

How Lovely Is Your Dwelling

Scripture References

Thematically related:

Further Reflections on Scripture References

Taken form Psalm 84:1-7, “How Lovely Is Your Dwelling” is a prayer of longing for God’s house and for the blessing of serving God there. Stanza 1 describes the beauty of God’s house and the soul’s longing for the joy and comfort of that holy place. Stanza 2 highlights God’s care of his people, combining the images of sparrow and swallow from Psalm 84:3 with the image of God’s sheltering wings found in other psalms (36:7; 57:1; 61:4; 91:4). Stanza 3 extols the blessedness of being God’s people in Zion or the New Jerusalem.
 
Bert Polman, Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

In a world with many threats and enemies, we find hope and security in his fatherly care. Both Belgic Confession and Heidelberg Catechism put significant focus on the Providence of God and the care God provides for us. Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 9, Question and Answer 26 professes that he “will provide whatever I need for body and soul” and that we are “completely in his hand.” In Belgic Confession, Article 13 professes that he “watches over us with fatherly care.”
507

How Lovely Is Your Dwelling

Additional Prayers

God of all loveliness and beauty,
even the humblest of creatures finds its home close to you.
May your church be a place of safety to every wanderer who seeks you,
every believer who trusts you, and every disciple who follows you.
We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
507

How Lovely Is Your Dwelling

Tune Information

Name
ST. EDITH
Key
D Major
Meter
7.6.7.6 D

Recordings

507

How Lovely Is Your Dwelling

Hymn Story/Background

Taken from Psalm 84:1-7, “How Lovely Is Your Dwelling” is a prayer of longing for God’s house and for the blessing of serving God there. Stanza 1 describes the beauty of God’s house and the soul’s longing for the joy and comfort of that holy place. Stanza 2 highlights God’s care of his people, combining the images of sparrow and swallow from Psalm 84:3 with the image of God’s sheltering wings found in other psalms (Psalms 36:7; 57:1; 61:4; 91:4). Stanza 3 extols the blessedness of being God’s people in Zion or the New Jerusalem.
 
The versification is from the 1912 Psalter, the original first line read “O Lord of hosts, how lovely.”
 
The original form of ST. EDITH (also known as ST. HILDA) was composed in 1793 by Justin Heinrich Knecht for the text “Der neidern Menschhiet Hülle.” It was published in Vollstandige Sammlung… Choralmelodien (1799), edited by Johann Friedrich Christmann and Knecht, who composed ninety-seven of the tunes in the collection.
 
Edward Husband exchanged two lines of the original tune with two lines of his own in 1871 to produce the current setting.
 
The tune title refers to the tenth-century British virgin Edith of Wilton (near Salisbury, Wiltshire), who refused various important positions and instead served the poor. Sing this tune in four broad phrases with rhythmic precision.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

The 1912 Psalter was the first ecumenical psalter published in the United States and the most widely used metrical psalter of the twentieth century in North America.  The United Presbyterian Church invited all other Reformed and Presbyterian denominations to join them in the effort to provide a new versifications of the psalms; six Presbyterian denominations, as well as the Christian Reformed Church and the Reformed Church in America joined in the effort in revising the 1887 Psalter (whose texts actually dated back to the 1871 Book of Psalms; the 1887 edition had added music to the texts.).  The 1912 Psalter included all the psalms in 413 settings, eight doxologies, and the three Lukan canticles (Song of Mary, Song of Zechariah, and Song of Simeon).
— Bert Polman and Jack Reiffer

Composer Information

Justin Heinrich Knecht (b. Biberach, Germany, 1752; d. Biberach, 1817) mastered the flute, oboe, trumpet, violin, and organ. He taught literature in Biberach and became the town’s music director in 1792, pioneering the use of program notes in his public concerts. After serving as director of the theater orchestra in Stuttgard (1807-1809), he returned to Biberach for the rest of his life. Knecht was a prolific composer of songs for the stage, church music for the organ and choir, and instrumental pieces. He also wrote several theoretical works on music and method books for organ playing.
— Bert Polman

Educated at St. Aidan’s College, Birkenhead, Edward Husband (b. Hampshire, England, 1843; d. Folkestone, Kent, England 1908) was ordained in the Church of England in 1867. He was a pastor in Atherton from 1866 to 1872, after which he served at St. Michael and All Angels’ Church in Folkestone. In 1885 he compiled an Appendix of hymn tunes for the Folkestone church. An organ teacher as well as a pastor, Husband edited The Mission Hymnal (1874) and Supplemental Tunes to Popular Hymns (1882).
— Bert Polman
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