190. God's Gift It Is to Eat and Drink

Text Information
First Line: God's gift it is to eat and drink
Title: God's Gift It Is to Eat and Drink
Versifier: Calvin Seerveld (1985)
Publication Date: 1987
Meter: 87 87 88
Scripture: Ecclesiastes 3:13-15; Ecclesiastes 7; Ecclesiastes 3:15; Ecclesiastes 7:14
Topic: Comfort & Encouragement; Sickness & Health; Providence (1 more...)
Language: English
Copyright: © Calvin Seerveld
Tune Information
Harmonizer: Dale Grotenhuis (1985)
Composer: Bartholomäus Gesius (1605)
Meter: 87 87 88
Key: D Major
Copyright: Harmonization © 1987, CRC Publications

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Eccles. 3: 13-14
st. 2 = Eccles. 7: 14
st. 3 = Eccles. 3:15

"God's Gift It Is" voices one of the central themes of the book of Ecclesiastes–life centered on God is not "vanity" but brings joy and has meaning. In all circumstances, God is in control and guides our lives (see Answer 1 of the Heidelberg Catechism: "I . . . belong . . . in life and in death–to my faithful Savior. . ."). The song's refrain picks up on this theme. In the biblical text this theme occurs in Ecclesiastes 2:24-26; 3:12-13; 5:18-20; 7:14; 8:15.

Calvin Seerveld (PHH 22) paraphrased Ecclesiastes 3:13-15 and 7:14 in 1985 for the Psalter Hymnal–and specifically for the tune MACHS MIT MIR. Except for the wisdom psalms, this is one of the few wisdom texts in the

Liturgical Use
Because this song focuses on God's providence, it will find frequent use in Christian worship–for example, springtime prayer for crops and industry, fall harvest thanksgiving, Sunday near Labor Day, commemoration of events at the end of the year or season, times of prosperity and times of adversity.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

MACHS MIT MIR was first published in the collection of music Das ander Theil des andern newen Operis Geistlicher Deutscher Lieder (1605) by Bartholomäus Gesius (b. Münchenberg, near Frankfurt, Germany, c. 1555; d. Frankfurt, 1613). A prolific composer, Gesius wrote almost exclusively for the church. Gesius studied theology at the University of Frankfurt and pursued his musical studies privately. He was a cantor in Münchenberg, a private tutor for a poet's family in Muskau, and a cantor at the Marienkirche in Frankfurt from 1593 until his death. He composed numerous settings for pre-Reformation Latin songs and for Reformation hymns (with Luther's hymns well represented) and published them in ten volumes, including his Psalmodia Choralis and Geistliche deutsche Lieder (1601). He also wrote a St. John Passion (1588), a St. Matthew Passion (1613), important settings of the Magnificat (1607), and a theoretical work, Synopsis musicae practicae (1609) .

Johann H. Schein later adapted Gesius's tune for his own hymn text "Machs mit mir, Gott" (1628)–from which the tune got its name–and published it in the second edition of his famous Cantional (1645). [Hymnary ed. note: Schein died in 1630, so someone else published the second edition]. Johann S. Bach (PsH 7) used the tune in his St. John Passion (1724) and in his Cantatas 139and 156. An isorhythmic version of the tune was published in the 1959 Psalter Hymnal under the name EISENACH. Dale Grotenhuis (PsH 4) prepared the harmonization in 1985 for the 1987 Psalter Hymnal.

Like so many chorales, MACHS MIT MIR is in bar form (AAB); its rhythms alternate between duple and triple–in this case the use of the two main forms of musical rhythm is a nice way of suggesting that God's providence covers all! Unison singing may be best on the stanzas, with harmonizing optional on the refrain. Sing this tune with much energy to an animating tempo.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

MIDI file: MIDI Preview
(Faith Alive Christian Resources)
More media are available on the tune authority page.