79. In Your Heritage the Nations

1 In your heritage the nations
now, O God, rebellious stand;
they defile your holy temple,
they destroy your chosen land.
Ruthless, they have slain your servants,
they have caused your saints to mourn;
in the sight of all about us
we endure reproach and scorn.

2 O how long against your people
will your anger burn, O LORD?
On your enemies, the heathen,
let your anger, LORD, be poured.
Smite the kingdoms that defy you,
that do not call on your name.
They have long devoured your people
and destroyed your land with flame.

3 O remember not against us
evil by our fathers done.
LORD, deliver in your mercy;
near to ruin we have come.
Help us, God of our salvation,
for the glory of your name.
Why should nations shout defiance?
Take away our sin and shame.

4 Let the nations know our Savior
will avenge his servants slain.
Loose the prisoner, save the dying,
all your enemies restrain.
Then your flock, your chosen people,
songs of thankfulness will raise;
and, to every generation,
we will sing your glorious praise.

Text Information
First Line: In your heritage the nations
Title: In Your Heritage the Nations
Meter: 87 87 D
Scripture: Psalm 79
Topic: Judge, God/Christ as; Laments; Society/Social Concerns1 more...
Source: Psalter, 1912, alt.
Language: English
Tune Information
Name: O MEIN JESU
Harmonizer: Paul Bunjes (1982)
Meter: 87 87 D
Key: f minor
Source: Geistliche Volkslieder, Paderborn, 1850
Copyright: Harmonization © 1982 Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission


Text Information:

A prayer for God's forgiveness and restoration and for his judgment on world powers that have defied and scorned him.

Scripture References:
st. 1 = vv. 1-4
st. 2 = vv. 5-7
st. 3 = vv. 8-9
st. 4 = vv. 10-13

Like Psalms 74 and 137, this song comes from the exile period. It is a community lament in which Israel pleads with God to turn his anger from Israel to the kingdoms that have treated her cruelly and shown utter contempt for the LORD (st. 1-2). Those nations have devastated God's kingdom ("heritage," st. 1), and God's people now beg for forgiveness and for deliverance that will return glory to God's name (st. 3). In sympathy with the psalmist we sing, "Show the nations that you avenge the blood of your people, O God; save us, and we will praise you forever" (st. 4). The versification (altered) is from the 1912 Psalter. Another segment of Psalm 79 is at 254.

Liturgical Use:
Worship services focusing on the Jewish exile or on solidarity with Christians who suffer persecution or are refugees.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

Set to a German chorale text, "O mein Jesu, ich muss sterben" (O my Jesus, I must die), O MEIN JESU was published in Geistliche Volkslieder (1850). Paul G. Bunjes (b. Frankenmuth, MI, 1914) composed the harmonization for Lutheran Worship (1982). O MEIN JESU is in rounded bar form (AABA') with identical rhythms in its four musical lines. The music is well suited to part singing and bears a stately tempo.

A graduate of Valparaiso (IN) University, Bunjes also earned a Ph.D. in music from the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York. He was an elementary school teacher and administrator for fifteen years and since 1951 has served on the faculty of Concordia Teachers College, River Forest, Illinois. Bunjes is noted as an organ-building consultant. He served as musical editor of Lutheran Worship (1982) and prepared many harmonizations for that hymnal, using his own name as well as two pseudonyms, Wilhelm Quampen and George Leonard.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook


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