516

Bless the Lord, O My Soul

Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

Gospel musician Andrae Crouch (PHH 552) composed a song for the familiar opening phrases of Psalm 103, one of the much-loved Old Testament hymns about God's love and compassion for his people. Only the refrain, which frames his longer text, provides a frame around the entire psalm. Crouch retains the conven­tional Hebrew custom of addressing oneself as "my soul." Crouch's phrase "He has done great things" is a summary reference to all the mighty and compassionate deeds of the Lord described in Psalm 103–God forgives, heals, provides, and redeems; and he is gracious, patient, loving, and just (see PHH 103 for additional comments on the psalm) .

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

We celebrate with joy that Christ has come to rescue us from sin and evil through the work of his son, Jesus Christ. Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 35 identifies the church as “the fellowship of those who confess Jesus as Lord…the bride of Christ…”
 

Belgic Confession, Article 21 professes how Jesus Christ is a high priest forever and provided for the cleansing of our sins; Article 10 proclaims him as the “true eternal God, the Almighty, whom we invoke, worship and serve.” Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1, Question and Answer 2 calls us to “live and die in the joy of this comfort” and “to thank God for such deliverance.”

516

Bless the Lord, O My Soul

Additional Prayers

Creator of all, you formed us in your image and filled us with life-giving breath.
We bless you: even your name is holy.
Redeemer of all, you have ransomed and healed us, restored and forgiven us.
We remember your blessings with thankful praise.
Sustainer of all, tune the very fiber of our being to resonate with the songs of angels.
We join the hymn of all creation, praising you,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—one God forever. Amen.
516

Bless the Lord, O My Soul

Tune Information

Name
BLESS THE LORD
Key
E♭ Major

Recordings

516

Bless the Lord, O My Soul

Hymn Story/Background

Gospel musician Andraé Crouch composed a song for the familiar opening phrases of Psalm 103, one of the much-loved Old Testament hymns about God's love and compassion for his people. Only the refrain, which frames his longer text, is included in Lift Up Your Hearts; the same words provide a frame around the entire psalm. Crouch retains the conven­tional Hebrew custom of addressing oneself as "my soul." Crouch's phrase "He has done great things" is a summary reference to all the mighty and compassionate deeds of the Lord described in Psalm 103—God forgives, heals, provides, and redeems; and he is gracious, patient, loving, and just.
 
Crouch and his ensemble, The Disciples, popularized this chorus by their numerous performances in the early 1970s. The hymn was recorded and published by Lexicon Music in 1973, both as a four-part choral octavo and as a solo piece.
 
Sing BLESS THE LORD with jubilant unison voices accompanied by a complement of African American gospel-style instruments: piano, electric organ, and drums. Several solo voices in the congregation could improvise alternate soprano melodies and/ or substitute other lyrics for "He has done great things," especially if the song is repeated; alternate phrases derived from Psalm 103 include: he forgives my sins; he redeems my life; he renews my youth; he made known his ways; he is slow to anger; he abounds in love (other phrases from Psalm 103).
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

Richard Smallwood (b. Washington, D.C., 1948), a composer, arranger, pianist, and innovator in the African American gospel style. Many of his arrangements of gospel hymns appear in Lift Every Voice and Sing (1981). Organized by Smallwood in 1967, the Richard Smallwood Singers have sung and recorded many of his arrangements. Smallwood has a B.M. degree from Howard University, Washington, DC.
— Bert Polman

Author and Composer Information

Andraé Crouch (b. Los Angeles, CA, 1945) is a leader in contemporary gospel music. He began performing as a teen in his church, directed a choir at a Teen Challenge drug rehabilitation center, and then formed a singing group for the Church of God in Christ denomination. As a singer he has toured with his "Disciples" ensemble throughout the world for twenty-five years; his recordings have won Grammy and Dove awards. He has written more than three hundred gospel songs, many of which have become standards in gospel music. He has also written an autobiography, Through It All: A Biography (1974).
 
The African American gospel style began in the 1920s with Thomas Dorsey. Along with Edwin Hawkins, Jessye Dixon, James Cleveland, Dannibelle, and Curtis Burrell (to name a few), Crouch represents a more recent generation of such gospel musicians.
— Bert Polman
Hymnary.org does not have a score for this hymn.



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