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My God, How Wonderful You Are

Scripture References

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

The best-loved expressions of praise for God’s care-taking work of his children comes from the familiar words of Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1, Question and Answer 1: “My only comfort in life and death [is] that I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil...Because I belong to him, Christ by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes we wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.”
 

This great truth is explained more completely by Belgic Confession, Article 20. God has given his Son to die for us “…by a most perfect love, and raising him to life for our justification, in order that by him, we might have immortality and eternal life.” And in Article 21, “…He endured all this for the forgiveness of our sins.” For this redemptive work we give praise and adoration.

Introductory/Framing Text

Frederick W. Faber wrote "My God, how wonderful thou art," a hymn published in his Jesus and Mary; or Catholic Hymns (1849). Of the original nine stanzas, 1, 3-5, 7, and 9 are included in modernized form.
 
Presenting a magnificent view of God, this text is particularly appropriate for the late twentieth century, a time in which humankind has lost its sense of wonder. As we sing, we contemplate the glory and majesty of God (st. 1-2), which in turn inspires our holy fear, penitence, and love (st. 3-4). The text alludes to Psalm 103:13 (st. 5) and gives us an apocalyptic vision of worshiping God face to face (st. 6).
 
Thomas Turton composed ST. ETHELDREDA in 1860; it was published in James Turle's Psalms and Hymns for Public Worship (1863).
 
This simple but charming tune is in the style of the older English psalm tunes. Sing much of the hymn in harmony, possibly with some antiphonal stanzas, but sing stanza 6 in unison. The singing and its accompaniment should contribute to the sense of awe inherent in the text.
— Bert Polman

Tune Information

Name
ST. ETHELDREDA
Key
E♭ Major
Meter
8.6.8.6

Author Information

Raised in the Church of England, Frederick W. Faber (b. Calverly, Yorkshire, England, 1814; d. Kensington, London, England, 1863) came from a Huguenot and strict Calvinistic family background. He was educated at Balliol College, Oxford, and ordained in the Church of England in 1839. Influenced by the teaching of John Henry Newman, Faber followed Newman into the Roman Catholic Church in 1845 and served under Newman's supervision in the Oratory of St. Philip Neri. Because he believed that Roman Catholics should sing hymns like those written by John Newton, Charles Wesley, and William Cowpe, Faber wrote 150 hymns himself. He published his hymns in various volumes and finally collected all of them in Hymns (1862).
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

Educated at Catharine Hall, Cambridge, England, Thomas Turton (b. Hatfield, Yorkshire, England, 1780; d. Westminster, Middlesex, England, 1864) became a professor of mathematics at Cambridge in 1822 and five years later a professor of divinity at the same school. In 1830 he left Cambridge to become Dean of Peterborough. He also served as Dean of Westminster (1842-1845) and as Bishop of Ely from 1845 until his death. Turton wrote many polemical tracts and composed some church music.
— Bert Polman
Hymnary.org does not have a score for this hymn.