712

Happy Is the One

Scripture References

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

It is vitally important that worshipers understand the role of God’s law among us. God gives his law to us, not so that we can earn his favor by full obedience, for even those converted to God cannot obey this law perfectly. Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 44, Question and Answer 114 says, “In this life even the holiest have only a small beginning of this obedience.” Instead, says Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 2, Question and Answer 3, through this law “we come to know [our] misery.” 
 
Yet in their new life of gratitude, God’s children “with all seriousness of purpose, do begin to live according to all, not only some, of God’s commandments” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 44, Question and Answer 114). They measure their good works of gratitude as “those which are done out of true faith, conform to God’s law, and are done for God’s glory” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 33, Question and Answer 91). 
 
In other words, though Christ has fulfilled the law for us, “The truth and substance of these things remain for us in Jesus Christ…[and] we continue to use the witnesses drawn from the law and prophets to confirm us in the gospel and to regulate our lives with full integrity for the glory of God according to the will of God” (Belgic Confession, Article 25). Therefore, the Ten Commandments with explanation are included in the third section, “gratitude,” (Lord’s Days 34-44) of Heidelberg Catechism.
712

Happy Is the One

Additional Prayers

Lord our God, giver of blessing and judgment, your Son Jesus lived the only true life.
Because of him, we can know you, love you, and delight in you.
Keep us watered by your grace and rooted in your Spirit
so that our ears will hear your voice and our feet will follow your path,
giving glory to you alone. Amen.

O God, we chafe under your commands when we should be reveling in them. Make us teachable people, glad to learn your blessed recipe for life. Make us humble enough to think we actually have something to learn from your Word. Then let us delight in your sound instruction and mull it over. In other words, O God, we pray to you for basic wisdom, the knack of living effectively within your world. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
— Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
712

Happy Is the One

Tune Information

Name
BENEDICTUS PRIMUS
Key
F Major or modal
Meter
5.10.10.6

Recordings

712

Happy Is the One

Hymn Story/Background

Psalm 1, the first of the "wisdom" psalms, directs all who enter the book of Psalms to the appropriate way to serve and worship God. In the tradition of the teachers of wisdom (also found in Psalms 34, 37, 49, 73, 112, and throughout Proverbs), this psalm sharply con­trasts the results of righteousness with those of wickedness. Psalm 1 declares the blessedness of the righteous, who shun the counsel and company of the wicked (st. 1) and who meditatively review God's law (st. 2). While the righteous are blessedly secure, fruitful, and prosperous in all they do (st. 3), the wicked are as wind-blown chaff, excluded from the LORD's congregation and unable to stand in the place of judgment (st. 4). The LORD watches over the way chosen by the righteous, but the way of the wicked comes to nothing (st. 5). These two "ways" lead to such contrasting conditions not by chance or some natural law but because God is active in human affairs to protect and bless the one and denounce the other.
 
This setting is one of twenty-four psalm settings by John L. Bell published in 1993 by the Iona Community in Scotland and available in North America through GIA Publications.  In the Introduction to that collection, John Bell writes,
 
One of the greatest slurs on the 150 Old Testament poems known collectively and affectionately as the Psalms is to call them “praise songs.” This not only shows a frightening blindness to the content of the poems, it also belittles the experience of Jesus Christ.  When, on the cross, he used the words, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me”” was he singing a happy chorus?  .... In this era of history, when the ending of the Cold War and global awareness of international disorders have not ensured that the world is safer or less hungry, or its wealthy inhabitants more fulfilled, it may be that we have to learn to use these ancient words in ways that will ensure our present-day apprehensions and pains are offered to God as earnestly as our most exuberant praise.
 
Bell also mentioned that the Wild Goose Worship Group had collaborated with him in the writing of these very diverse psalm settings, so that the work is communal.
— Emily Brink

Author and Composer Information

The Iona Community is an ecumenical Christian group of men and women based on the small island of Iona off the coast of Scotland. The community began in 1938 when he Rev. George MacLeod of the Church of Scotland began a ministry among the unemployed poor who had been neglected by the church. He took a handful of men to the island to rebuild the ruins of a thousand-year-old abbey church. That rebuilding became a metaphor for the rebuilding of the common life, a return to the belief that daily activity is the stuff of godly service—work, and worship.  The Community has since grown to include a group of members, associates, and friends all over the United Kingdom and many other contries. In addition to many conferences that attract people to Iona from around the world, the Community is known for its publishing of new songs and prayers for worship, both developed in community and gathered from around the world. For more information on the Iona Community, check their website: www.iona.org.uk. John Bell is probably the community’s most well-known member, having composed and arranged much of the community’s music.