673

How Precious Is Your Unfailing Love

Scripture References

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

The Catechism says that those who know Christ’s forgiveness are “to thank God for such deliverance” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1, Question and Answer 2). As a result, “With our whole lives we may show that we are thankful to God for his benefits, so that he may be praised through us, and that we may be assured of our faith by its fruits, and so that by our godly living our neighbors may be won over to Christ” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 32, Question and Answer 86).
673

How Precious Is Your Unfailing Love

Words of Praise

Refrain
I have a message from God in my heart
concerning the sinfulness of the wicked:
There is no fear of God
before their eyes.
In their own eyes they flatter themselves
too much to detect or hate their sin.
The words of their mouths
are wicked and deceitful;
they fail to act wisely or do good.
Even on their beds they plot evil;
they commit themselves to a sinful course
and do not reject what is wrong.
Refrain
Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness
is like the highest mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
You, Lord, preserve
both people and animals.
How priceless is your unfailing love,
O God!
People take refuge
in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance
of your house;
you give them drink
from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.
Refrain
Continue your love to those who know you,
your righteousness to the upright in heart.
May the foot of the proud not come against me,
nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.
See how the evildoers lie fallen—
thrown down, not able to rise!
Refrain

Additional Prayers

Loving and faithful God, we thank you that in Jesus Christ
you have revealed the height and width, the breadth and depth of your love.
With you is the fountain of life, and in your light we see light.
May our lives reflect your goodness and by your Spirit bring healing to others,
until all creation makes its home under the shadow of your wings. Amen.

A Prayer of Praise
O God, refuge of all who suffer, we look for shelter in the shadow of your wings. Rain and hail and wind beat on your wings, but they do not fold. They are spread out like Jesus’ arms on the cross, spread out to be wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities. So we praise and thank you in Jesus’ name. Amen.
— Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
673

How Precious Is Your Unfailing Love

Tune Information

Name
YOUR UNFAILING LOVE
Key
G Major or modal
Meter
11.9.8

Musical Suggestion

When the lection ends at v. 10, sing refrain after v. 10. The refrain “How Precious Is Your Unfailing Love, O God,” comes from a larger composition by David Lee.
673

How Precious Is Your Unfailing Love

Author and Composer Information

David Lee (b. 1956) was brought up in Didsbury, Manchester, England, and sketched his first hymn-tune while at primary school. He has been active in church music since his early teens, accompanying the local Crusader (now "Urban Saints") youth group, and playing the piano and organ at All Hallows Church, Cheadle, Cheshire. During summer months in 1975 and 1976, he was Abbey Musician at Iona Abbey, which provided a sharp contrast to, and widened outlook from, his earlier largely conservative-evangelical background.
 
While an undergraduate (Geophysics) at Grey College, Durham (1975-78) he was a founder of the music team at St. Nicholas Church under its vicar, George Carey. Following a postgraduate year at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (M.Sc., Computing Science) he returned to Durham to work in the University's Computing Service, and rejoined St. Nicholas where he later became deputy leader of the music group.
 
These experiences, and involvement in some much smaller outlying churches in Co. Durham and in the local hospital chaplaincy, planted an increasingly acute awareness of the wide diversity of music required for the service and mission of the contemporary church. The importance of music-group styles, but also the narrow and somewhat superficial range of its music commercially available, led him towards writing music in such styles, attempting to combine quality with practical simplicity.
 
In 1995 the family settled at St. John's Church, Nevilles Cross, Durham, where these strands and ideas of writing were actively encouraged and began weaving together. In particular these included recovering the psalms (which, worryingly, are almost entirely lost to corporate evangelical and charismatic worship) in ways sympathetic to music-groups and small churches, but still teachable with minimal liturgical intrusion, week by week.
 
In 1998, he was invited to present a paper, “Top-down or bottom-up: restoring the balance to the World” at the Church Music Symposium in London, pleading for a recognition of the importance both of the "small church" and also of a range of music for all churches.
 
Following that, he was invited to join the Durham Diocesan Liturgical Committee music subgroup (and the local RSCM education group) where he initiated and fostered a short course to give "small church" musicians a basic confidence-building grounding in music for worship.
 
David is a member of the Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland, and from 2007 is serving on its executive committee. He was also an early encourager of the Christian Songwriting Organisation email group.
 
Various periodicals (e.g. Deo magazine, Stainer & Bell's Worship Live and MWF's Sing a New Song) take some of his settings from time to time. Recent entries in the St. Paul's Cathedral Millennium Hymn Competition and RSCM competitions have been highly placed. More formally, he has had tunes published in Stainer & Bell's Sound Bytes and was among the major contributors to the Methodist Wesley Music for the Millennium project. In 2006, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod published his new tune Elvet Banks in their new hymnal. In 2011 the Methodist Church published four tunes of his tunes in the new Singing the Faith hymn book and in 2012 the combined Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA) and Reformed Church in America (RCA) published seven tunes in their Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship
Hymnary.org does not have a score for this hymn.



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