Song of Mary

Versifier: Dewey Westra

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Text Information

First Line: My spirit glorifies the Lord, In God the Spirit I rejoice
Title: Song of Mary
Versifier: Dewey Westra (1931)
Source: Psalter Hymnal 1987, rev.
Copyright: Text © 1987, CRC Publications


Scripture References:
st. 1 = Luke 1:46-48
st. 2 = Luke 1:48-49
st. 3 = Luke 1 :50-51
st. 4 = Luke 1:52-53
st. 5 = Luke 1 :54-55

The Song of Mary recorded in Luke 1 :46-55 is the first of the three "great" canticles recorded in Luke 1 and 2. It features similarities to the Song of Hannah (158) and echoes many other Old Testament passages. Commonly known as the Magnificat (after its Latin incipit), Mary's song is a bold text uttered by a young woman who wasn't supposed to become pregnant–and yet it compares in many ways with an Old Testament song uttered by a woman (Hannah) who at first couldn't become pregnant. Mary's song has all the characteristics of a psalm of thanksgiving, praising God for his mighty acts of salvation, for being merciful toward the poor and hungry and humble, and for being faithful to his people. In 1931 Dewey Westra (PHH 98) versified Mary's song in Detroit for the 1934 Psalter Hymnal. The text was revised by the Psalter Hymnal Revision Committee for the 1987 edition. A hymnic paraphrase of Mary's song is at 478, and a canonic setting is at 622.

Liturgical Use:
Advent; Christmas; occasions of thanksgiving for God's grace. In churches that have daily prayer services, this canticle is sung during evening prayer.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook



William Boyd (b. Montego Bay, Jamaica, 1847; d. Paddington, England, 1928) composed PENTECOST in 1864 for the hymn text "Come, Holy Ghost, Our Souls Inspire"; it was published in 1868 in Thirty-Two Hymn Tunes Composed by Members of the University of Oxford. The name PENTECOST derives from the subjec…

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PUER NOBIS is a melody from a fifteenth-century manuscript from Trier. However, the tune probably dates from an earlier time and may even have folk roots. PUER NOBIS was altered in Spangenberg's Christliches GesangbUchlein (1568), in Petri's famous Piae Cantiones (1582), and again in Praetorius's (P…

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Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #212


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