104. Your Spirit, O LORD, Makes Life to Abound

1 Your Spirit, O LORD, makes life to abound.
The earth is renewed, and fruitful the ground.
To God be all glory and wisdom and might.
May God in his creatures forever delight.

2 My soul, praise the LORD! The LORD is most great,
with glory arrayed, majestic in state.
The light is his garment, the skies form a tent,
and over the waters his couriers are sent.

3 He rides on the clouds and wings of the storm.
The lightning and wind his mission perform.
Foundations of earth he forever has stayed;
to cover it, oceans like garments were laid.

4 On mountains and plains the dark waters lay.
They heard his rebuke and hurried away.
He lifted the mountains, to valleys gave birth,
set boundaries for seas that once covered the earth. Repeat stanza 1

5 God causes the springs of water to flow
in streams from the hills to valleys below.
The LORD gives the streams for all living things there,
while birds with their singing enrapture the air.

6 Down mountains and hills your showers are sent.
With fruit of your work the earth is content.
You give grass for cattle and food for our toil,
enriching our labors with bread, wine, and oil.

7 The trees that the LORD has planted are fed,
and over the earth their branches are spread.
They keep in their shelter the birds of the air.
The life of each creature God keeps in his care. Repeat stanza 1

8 The seasons are fixed by wisdom divine.
The slow-changing moon shows forth God's design.
The sun in its circuit its Maker obeys
and, running its journey, hastes not nor delays.

9 The LORD makes the night, when, leaving their lair,
the lions go forth, God's bounty to share.
The LORD makes the morning, when beasts steal away,
when we are beginning the work of the day.

10 How many and wise the works of the LORD!
The earth with its wealth of creatures is stored.
The sea bears in safety the ships to and fro;
Leviathan plays in the waters below.

11 Your creatures all look to you for their food.
Your hand opens wide, they gather the good.
When you hide your face, LORD, in anguish they yearn;
when you stop their breathing, to dust they return. Repeat stanza 1

12 Before the LORD's might earth trembles and quakes.
The mountains are rent, and smoke from them breaks.
I promise to worship the LORD all my days.
Yes, while I have being, my God I will praise.

13 Rejoicing in God, my thought shall be sweet.
May sinners depart in ruin complete.
My soul, praise the LORD God his name be adored.
Come, praise him, all people, and worship the LORD.

Text Information
First Line: Your Spirit, O LORD, makes life to abound
Title: Your Spirit, O LORD, Makes Life to Abound
Meter: 10 10 11 11
Scripture: Psalm 104
Topic: New Year - Old Year
Source: Psalter, 1912, alt.
Language: English
Tune Information
Name: HOUGHTON
Composer: Henry J. Gauntlett (1861)
Meter: 10 10 11 11
Key: F Major


Text Information:

Praise of God's glory displayed in creation.

Scripture References:
st. 1 = vv. 30-31 (theme stanza)
st. 2 = vv. 1-3
st. 3 = vv. 3b-6
st. 4 = vv. 7-9
st. 5 = vv.10-12
st. 6 = vv.13-15
st. 7 = vv. 16-18
st. 8 = v. 19
st. 9 = vv. 20-23
st. 10 = vv.24-26
st. 11 = vv. 27-29
st. 12 = vv. 32-33
st. 13 = vv. 34-35

A creation hymn, Psalm 104 contains echoes of Genesis 1 but is not a poetic account of creation. Rather, it sings the praise of the Creator by recounting how the visible creation displays God's glory–creation is the glorious robe that clothes the invisible God (v. 1; st. 2). The author sees God's glory not so much in creation's beauty but in its mystery (vv. 2-4; st. 2-3), in the security of land though seemingly threatened by the oceans (vv. 5-9; st. 3-4), and especially in the varied manner in which God nourishes life through the gift of water (st. 5-7). God reveals further glory in the life-supporting pattern of days and seasons (st. 8-9) and in the vastness and benevolence of the earth and seas (st. 10). God's creation is a kingdom of life, which he abundantly sustains (vv. 27-28; st. 11). Even when God cuts life off, he renews it by his creative Spirit (vv. 29-30; st. 11, 1). Awed by the Creator's almighty power, the psalmist commits to a life of worship and praise (st. 12). But God's glorious robe is marred by an ugly stain, so the psalmist prays that it be removed: “May sinners vanish from the earth and the wicked be no more” (v. 35). Echoing his opening lines, the psalmist closes with a call for praise to the LORD (st. 13).

The versification derives mainly from that in the 1912 Psalter. The Psalter Hymnal Revision Committee chose one stanza (st. 1, based on vv. 30-31) as a theme stanza to be sung as a refrain to mark the main divisions in the biblical text. A hymn based on Psalm 104 is at 428.

Liturgical Use:
Praise of God as Creator and Provider, especially when celebrating God's gifts to his people.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

Henry John Gauntlett (b. Wellington, Shropshire, England, 1805; d. Kensington, London, England, 1876) originally composed HOUGHTEN for the text "O Worship the King" (428). Sing the theme stanza (st. 1) in parts and the other stanzas in unison, or vice versa. When singing the entire psalm, sing stanzas 2 through 13 antiphonally. Singing of only part of the psalm should always include the theme stanza.

When he was nine years old, Gauntlett became organist at his father's church in Olney, Buckinghamshire. At his father's insistence he studied law, practicing it until 1844, after which he chose to devote the rest of his life to music. He was an organist in various churches in the London area and became an important figure in the history of British pipe organs. A designer of organs for William Hill's company, Gauntlett extend¬ed the organ pedal range and in 1851 took out a patent on electric action for organs. Felix Mendelssohn chose him to play the organ part at the first performance of Elijah in Birmingham, England, in 1846. Gauntlett is said to have composed some ten thousand hymn tunes, most of which have been forgotten. A number of them, including HOUGHTEN (1861), were first published in various editions of The Congregational Psalmist (1858-1886). A supporter of the use of plainchant in the church, Gauntlett published the Gregorian Hymnal of Matins and Evensong (1844).

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook


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