588

Bān-bîn ah (Let All Nations Praise the Lord)

Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

Primary references are in the Psalms – 117, 97, and 99.  But other references give the background for the inclusion of all nations, particularly Genesis 12:1-3, Acts 1:8, 10:34- 36, Galatians 5:26-27 and Revelation 7:9-17.

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Sometimes the soul of the Christian needs to cry out exuberantly with joy, thanks, and adoration, even without identifying the reasons for such praise and adoration. Moreover, Christians who gather corporately find it fitting to do so as the grateful body of Christ. The Confessions of the church recognize this natural expression. Belgic Confession, Article 1 sees God as the “overflowing source of all good,” and such a realization deserves an “Alleluia!” Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1, Question and Answer 2 is a reminder that living in the joy of our comfort involves a spirit of thanks for his deliverance. In the same spirit, Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 2 exclaims, “God is King: Let the earth be glad! Christ is victor: his rule has begun! The Spirit is at work: creation is renewed!” and then as a natural response cries: “Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!”

Additional Prayers

God of all,
you have revealed your love to all the world through Jesus Christ your Son.
Gather all peoples to yourself so that in every tongue
one mighty hymn may rise to the glory of your holy name. Amen.

Tune Information

Name
O-LÓ
Key
d minor or modal
Meter
7.7.7.7

Recordings

Hymn Story/Background

The hymn was written by Xiangqi Zhang (the more typical Chinese spelling of Hsiang-chi Chang, which is a more Americanized spelling of the same name) during the 1989 church music workshops sponsored by the Asian Institue for Liturgy and Music and Tainan Theological Seminary in Tainan. In one class, students composed melodies with four tones. Zhang was only fifteen years old at the time of the workshop. This simple psalm can be sung at faster or slower tempi, with vigorous shouts or with graceful summons; either approach can communicate various emotions without destroying the beauty of the song.
 
O-LO is Taiwanese for “praise.” The English translation was altered in order to fit the music, which was originally set for a Taiwanese text. The optional simple, drone-like harmony was added later by the editor of Sound the Bamboo. This hymn can be sung as an antiphon after any psalm calling for people to praise God, or on other occasions of praise. It can be sung by different genders or age groups, with or without harmony.
I-to Loh, Hymnal Companion to “Sound the Bamboo”: Asian Hymns in Their Cultural and Liturgical Context, p. 143, ©2011 GIA Publications, Inc., Chicago
— I-to Loh

Author Information

I-to Loh (b. Tamsui, Taiwan, September 28, 1936) graduated from Tainan Theological College and Seminary (TTCS: MDiv, 1963), Union Theological Seminary, New York (SMM, composition, 1966), and the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA: PhD, music/ethnomusicology, 1982). He has taught at his alma mater, TTCS, and served as the head of the Department of Church Music for many years; he also served as the president of the seminary from 1995 until his retirement in 2002.
 
He was sent as a United Methodist missionary to teach at the Asian Institute for Liturgy and Music (AILM; 1982-94); in this capacity, he traveled and promoted contextual Asian church music and liturgy in many member churches of the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA), and he edited the 1990 and 2000 editions of Sound the Bamboo: CCA Hymnal. Loh was a consultant and animateur to three General Assemblies of WCC (1983, 1991, and 1998), and he was the director of music at five General Aseembly of LWF (Lutheran World Federation, 1997), the twenty-third Congress of WARCH (World Association of Reformed Church, 1997, co-director), the World Alliances of YMCAs (1984, animateur), and the Asian Alliance of YMCAs (1987 and 1989).
 
He has lectured in numerous Ecumenical Workshops on Liturgy and Music, sponsored by WCC and CCA around the globe, and he has taught at Taiwan Theological College and Seminary, Tunghai University, Soochow University, and Tainan Teacher’s College. He has published twenty-one books and collections of hymns/songs from Asia and Africa, including: New Songs of Asian Cities (1972), A Festival of Asian Christmas Carols (1984), Let the Hills Sing (1986), African Songs of Worship (1986), Sing a New Song to the Lord (1987), Christ the Light to Bali (1987), Hakka Songs of Worship (1987), The Love of God Sets Us Free (1988), Thousands and Thousands of Songs Full of Praise (audiocassette, 1990), All Peoples Praise (1995), and Jyothi Do Prabhu (recordings of bhajans and lyrics from India, 1996). In addition to writing dozens of academic papers, he published the monograph Teach Us to Praise (1992, revised 2002).
 
Loh has translated more than 300 hymns from English and other languages to Taiwanese or Mandarin, and he has published more than one hundred hymns, liturgical responses, and acclamations in Asia and North America. He is the editor of the official hymnal of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan, Sengsi, 2009. For his contributions to hymnology, he was named a Fellow of the Hymn Society of North American and Canada in 1995. He received the 2006 Distinguished Service Award from the Global Consultation on Music and Missions. Also in 2006, Loh’s first CD, Originality, a collection of his choral compositions, won the award fro the best production of classical composition at the seventeenth Gold Music Prizes of the Bureau of News and Information of the Taiwan Government. His wife, Hui-chin (MDiv, TTCS; MRE, Princeton Theological Seminary) is a specialist in Christian education and has helped with all of his publications; they have three children and six grandchildren. 
 
In January 2014, GIA released a Christian Music from Asia to the World: The Life and Legacy of I-To Loh, in tribute to his many contributions to Christian Asian song.
 
I-to Loh, Hymnal Companion to “Sound the Bamboo”: Asian Hymns in Their Cultural and Liturgical Context, p. 453-54, ©2011 GIA Publications, Inc., Chicago
— I-to Loh