18. How I Love You, LORD, My God

Text Information
First Line: How I love you, LORD, my God
Title: How I Love You, LORD, My God
Versifier: Ada Roeper-Boulogne (1985)
Meter: 77 77 D
Scripture: Psalm 18
Topic: Warfare, Spiritual; Alternative Harmonizations
Language: English
Copyright: Text © 1987, CRC Publications
Tune Information
Name: ABERYSTWYTH
Composer: Joseph Parry (1879)
Arranger (alt. arr.): Donald Busarow
Meter: 77 77 D
Key: d minor
Copyright: Alternative arrangement © 1980, Augsbrug Publishing House. Reprinted by permission.


Text Information:

The LORD's anointed praises God for delivering him, causing him to triumph over all who opposed his reign.

Scripture References:
st. 1 = vv. 1-6
st. 2 =vv. 7-15
st. 3 =vv. 16-24
st. 4 = vv. 25-28
st. 5 = vv. 29-34
st. 6 = vv. 30-42
st. 7 = vv. 43-48
st. 8 = vv. 46-50

Psalm 18 is also found, with minor variants, in 2 Samuel 22. Faced with a mortal threat from Saul and others who opposed his divinely appointed rule over Israel, David had cried out to God from the depths, and he was marvelously delivered. With majestic imagery David praises God's deliverance from death in answer to prayer (st. 1), God's coming to deliver with creation-shaking power (st. 2), God's heaven-descending reach that lifted David from the overwhelming flood of enemies (st. 3), and God's just ways with humankind by which he saves (st. 4). The LORD has helped and enabled David to triumph over all his foes (st. 5-6) and has extended his reign over hostile nations (st. 7). David's victories in the strength of the LORD have secured his throne for generations (st. 8). Psalm 138 is a similar song of thanksgiving for the LORD's saving acts.

Ada Roeper-Boulogne (b. Haarlem, the Netherlands, 1931) chose to versify this psalm because, she says, "It portrays so well my own struggle with depression and how the LORD lifted me out of the pit and made the whole world light up for me." She first wrote the versification in 1981 in a poem of fifteen stanzas. The Psalter Hymnal. Revision Committee asked her to write the psalm in eight stanzas, which she did in 1985. This versification was first sung on March 16, 1986, in a psalm service at Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Roeper-Boulogne received her elementary education at the Dutch-Chinese Christian School in Central Java, Indonesia (then the Dutch East Indies), where her father, an organist and rebuilder of organs, served as a missionary and teacher. After Japan conquered Indonesia during World War II (1942), Roeper-Boulogne's family was placed in a concentration camp and remained there until 1945. Because a teacher organized a children's choir in the camp, even there Roeper-Boulogne was not totally devoid of music. In 1946 the family returned to the Netherlands and in 1951 immigrated to St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. Roeper-Boulogne has translated several Dutch songs and is the author of "Little Children Be Happy," which was published in Bible Steps (1983).

Liturgical Use:
Victory celebrations commemorating God's salvation in Christ or triumphs in the Christian life.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

Joseph Parry (b. Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorganshire, Wales, 1841; d. Penarth, Glamorganshire, 1903) was born into a poor but musical family. Although he showed musical gifts at an early age, he was sent to work in the puddling furnaces of a steel mill at the age of nine. His family immigrated to a Welsh settlement in Danville, Pennsylvania, in 1854, where Parry later started a music school. He traveled in the United States and in Wales, performing, studying, and composing music, and he won several Eisteddfodau (singing competition) prizes. Parry studied at the Royal Academy of Music and at Cambridge, where part of his tuition was paid by interested community people who were eager to encourage his talent. From 1873 to 1879 he was professor of music at the Welsh University College in Aberystwyth. After establishing private schools of music in Aberystwyth and in Swan sea, he was lecturer and professor of music at the University College of South Wales in Cardiff (1888-1903) . Parry composed oratorios, cantatas, an opera, orchestral and chamber music, as well as some four hundred hymn tunes.

ABERYSTWYTH, Parry's best known hymn tune, was composed in 1876 and named after the Welsh seaside resort where he was teaching. It was first published in Edward Stephen's Ail Llyfr Tonau acEmynau (The Second Book of Tunes and Hymns, 1879) as a setting for the Welsh hymn "Beth sydd i mi yn byd." Parry later joined the tune to “Jesus, Lover of My Soul” (578), and that combination has remained in most hymnals. Like many Welsh tunes, it requires firm and majestic treatment. The vivid text invites sturdy and sometimes dramatic accompaniment, especially on stanza 2. Try singing stanza 3 or 4 in harmony. For one or two of the other inner stanzas, the congregation may sing in canon when using the alternative accompaniment by Donald Busarow (opposite 17 in the hymnal). The congregation may be divided into two sections, or treble voices could begin, followed by men's voices after one measure.

Donald Busarow (b. Racine, Wi, 1934) graduated from Concordia University, River Forest, Illinois, and then studied at the University of Michigan, the Cleveland Institute, and Michigan State University, where he received a Ph.D. degree. Since 1975 he has been professor of music and chair of the department of sacred music at Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio. He has published many hymn concertatos, anthems, and organ compositions and is well-known for his hymn festivals.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook


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