Songs of Thankfulness and Praise

Full Text

1 Songs of thankfulness and praise,
Jesus, Lord, to you we raise,
manifested by the star
to the sages from afar;
branch of royal David’s stem,
in your birth at Bethlehem:

“You are Christ,” by us confessed–
God in flesh made manifest.

2 Manifest at Jordan’s stream,
Prophet, Priest, and King supreme;
and at Cana, wedding guest,
in your Godhead manifest,
you revealed your power divine,
changing water into wine, [Refrain]

3 Manifest in making whole
weakened body, fainting soul;
manifest in valiant fight,
quelling all the devil’s might;
manifest in gracious will,
ever bringing good from ill: [Refrain]

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Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

Taking Matthew 1: 1-11 as his theme for stanzas 1-3, Dix likens the journey of the wise men who came to worship the Christ to our own Christian pilgrimage. The pattern of these stanzas is "as they … so may we." Stanzas 4 and 5 are a prayer that our journey on the "narrow way" may bring us finally to glory where Christ is the light (Rev. 21:23) and where we may perfectly sing his praise.


Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Throughout stanza 2, Jesus is manifested as “prophet, priest and king supreme”; using parallel language, Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 12, Question and Answer 31 explains that Jesus is “anointed with the Holy Spirit” to be our “chief prophet and teacher,” our “only high priest” and our “eternal king.”


The refrain ends by confessing that “God in flesh [is] made manifest.” Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 14, Question and Answer 35 also confesses that Jesus “took to himself, through the working of the Holy Spirit, from the flesh and blood of the virgin Mary, a truly human nature...”


Songs of Thankfulness and Praise

Call to Worship

Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to a king’s son.
May he judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice.
May the mountains yield prosperity for the people,
and the hills, in righteousness.
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the needy,
and crush the oppressor.
May he live while the sun endures,
and as long as the moon, throughout all generations.
—Psalm 72:1-5, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

The mystery from which true godliness springs is great—come and see!
Jesus Christ appeared in the flesh,
was vindicated by the Spirit,
was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations,
was believed on in the world,
was taken up in glory.
May all the ends of the earth
see the salvation of our God.
—based on 1 Timothy 3:16; Isaiah 52:10
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Everlasting God,
you brought the nations to your light
and kings to the brightness of your rising.
Fill the world with your glory,
and show yourself to all the nations,
through him who is the true light
and the bright morning star,
Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two


The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name,
he gave the right to become children of God.
—John 1:9, 12, NIV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you,
that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.
If we say that we have fellowship with him
while we are walking in darkness,
we lie and do not do what is true;
but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light,
we have fellowship with one another,
and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
—1 John 1:5-7, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two


Almighty God has given each of us everything we need
to see our lives as a sheer gift from his hand:
The Father has created us and sustains our lives daily;
the Son has paid for our sins and brought us new life;
the Spirit keeps us in our Savior’s love
and empowers us to live for him.
All glory be to the triune God,
the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
May his name be honored and adored,
now and forevermore.
Beloved children of God:
May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love for you,
and keep you in his peace.
May you receive strength
to grow in faith, hope, and love,
to live with joy and delight,
and to give God thanks and praise. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

We praise you, O God,
for the sun of righteousness rises
with healing in its wings.
May the warm and healing rays of the light,
our Lord Jesus Christ,
soften, heal, and transform us
through the power of your Holy Spirit
as your Word is proclaimed today. Amen.
—based on Malachi 4:2
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Let us praise God for the
manifestation of the Christ in his mission on earth.
Let us praise God for the Magi from the east,
who were sent to Bethlehem
to teach us to honor him
and to offer our gifts.
We praise you, O God.
Let us praise God for the multitudes around the world
who are today using the resources of their customs and cultures
in developing new forms of worshiping the Christ.
We praise you, O God.
Let us praise God for all those
who are presenting themselves to be baptized in the name of Christ
and for all the parents who are bringing their children to the water of Christ.
We praise you, O God.
Let us praise God for the manifestation of Christ in our own time
when the thirsty are given something to drink and the hungry are fed.
We praise you, O God.
Let us pray for Christ’s continuing epiphany
among all who long for his presence.
For your manifestation among all who long for truth
and are educated and wise in this world,
for those who conduct research and those who teach,
for those who study the stars
and those who give counsel to kings and rulers,
we seek your grace, O wisdom of God.
For your epiphany among all who are open
to your presence in the water and the wine,
and especially among those who have seen your star
but have not yet heard your name,
we seek your grace, O Savior of the nations.
For your epiphany
among all who are suffering for the cause of righteousness,
for all who are in prison,
for those who are oppressed,
and for those who are hungry, thirsty, and homeless,
we seek your grace, O Son of God.
For your manifestation of your glory
in the course of our daily lives,
in our homes, our schools, our workplaces,
and our facilities for play and entertainment,
we seek your grace, O Lamb of God.
In your name, Amen.
[Reformed Worship 13:39]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Songs of Thankfulness and Praise

Tune Information

D Major
Meter D


Musical Suggestion

An organist could introduce this hymn to the congregation through preludes or alternative accompaniments for congregational singing. Since the tune SALZBURG has been set to other texts as well, organists should also look for settings of "At the Lamb's High Feast" or "Alle Menschen." A wonderful prelude, "Chorale and 8 Partitas on Alle Menschen" (several variations are for manuals only) is included in Johann Pachelbel Selected Organ Works, Vol IV (Barenreiter, 1016). An arrangement by David N. Johnson is found in Free Accompaniments to Hymns, Vol. Ill (Augsburg, 11-9189). His fourth variation lends itself well to a trumpet or flute descant.
When both choir and congregation are familiar with the tune, try singing the hymn together, as follows:
  • Stanza 1: choir and congregation in unison
  • Stanza 2: choir in parts, perhaps using the more elaborate Bach setting, found in Rejoice in the Lord #251, The Hymnal 1940 #53, or the new Hymnbook 1982 #135
  • Stanza 3: congregation and choir in unison or harmony (or, for an easier choral variation, the women of the choir can sing the tenor line an octave up, with the men on the melody).
For a more elaborate and festive setting of "Songs of Thankfulness and Praise," you may want to try Robert Powell's hymn concertato for congregation, SATB, organ, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, and timpani (GIA Publications, Inc., G-2456).
(from Reformed Worship, Issue 6)
— Marilyn Mulder

Songs of Thankfulness and Praise

Hymn Story/Background

Christopher Wordsworth (b. Lambeth, London, England, 1807; d. Harewood, Yorkshire, England, 1885), nephew of the great Romantic poet William Wordsworth, wrote this hymn in five stanzas. It was published in his Holy Year (1862) John 3:13-17 with the heading "Sixth Sunday after Epiphany." Wordsworth described the text as follows
[It is a] recapitulation of the successive manifestations of Christ, which have already been presented in the services of the former weeks throughout the season of Epiphany; and anticipation of that future great and glorious Epiphany, at which Christ will be manifest to all, when he will appear again to judge the world.
The didactic text teaches the meaning of Epiphany–the manifestation of Christ in his birth (st. 1), baptism, miracle at Cana (st. 2), healing of the sick, power over evil, and coming as judge (st. 3). Originally the refrain line was "Anthems be to thee addressed, God in man made manifest." The revised refrain borrows Peter's confession, "You are the Christ!" (Mark 8:29), and makes that our corporate confession as we acknowledge the “Word become flesh” who lived among us.
The tune SALZBURG, named after the Austrian city made famous by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, was first published anonymously in the nineteenth edition of Praxis Pietatis Melica (1678); in that hymnbook's twenty-fourth edition (1690) the tune was attributed to Jakob Hintze (b. Bernau, Germany, 1622; d. Berlin, Germany, 1702).
The harmonization by Johann S. Bach is simplified from his setting in his Choralgesänge (Rejoice in the Lord [231] and The Hymna1 1982 [135] both contain Bach's full harmonization). The tune is a rounded bar form (AABA) easily sung in harmony. But sing the refrain line in unison with full organ registration.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Wordsworth was a prolific author and the most renowned Greek scholar of his day. Included in his works are Memoirs of William Wordsworth (1851), Commentary on the Mole Bible (1856-1870), Church History (1881-1883), innumerable sermons and pamphlets, and The Holy Year (1862), which contained 117 of his original hymns as well as 82 others written for all the Sundays and Christian holy days according to the Book of Common Prayer. Wordsworth was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, England, where he distinguished himself as a brilliant student. He later taught at Trinity College and was headmaster of Harrow School (1836-1844). Ordained a priest in the Church of England in 1835, he was canon of Westminster in 1844, a country priest in Stanford-in-the-Vale, Berkshire (1850-1869), and then Bishop of Lincoln (1869-1885).
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

Partly as a result of the Thirty Years' War and partly to further his musical education, Jakob Hintze (b. Bernau, Germany, 1622; d. Berlin, Germany, 1702) traveled widely as a youth, including trips to Sweden and Lithuania. In 1659 he settled in Berlin, where he served as court musician to the Elector of Brandenburg from 1666 to 1695. Hintze is known mainly for his editing of the later editions of Johann Crüger's Praxis Pietatis Melica, to which he contributed some sixty-five of his original tunes.
— Bert Polman

Johann Sebastian Bach (b. Eisenach, Germany, 1685; d. Leipzig, Germany, 1750) came from a family of musicians. He learned to play violin, organ, and harpsichord from his father and his older brother, Johann Christoph. Bach's early career developed in Arnstadt and Muhlhausen, particularly at the court of Duke Wilhelm Ernst in Weimar. During this period he composed cantatas and most of his large organ works. In 1717 Bach became director of music for Prince Leopold in Anhalt-Cathen, for whom he composed much of his instrumental music-orchestral suites and concertos as well as The Well-Tempered Clavier. In 1723 he was appointed cantor of the Thomas Schule at Leipzig and director at St. Thomas and St. Nicholas churches and at the University of Leipzig. During that time he wrote his large choral works, 165 cantatas, and more compositions for organ and harpsichord. Although Bach's contribution to church music was immense and his stature as the finest composer of the Baroque era unparal­leled, he composed no hymn tunes for congregational use. He did, however, harmo­nize many German chorales, which he used extensively in his cantatas, oratorios, and organ works. These harmonizations were published posthumously by his son Carl Phillip Emmanuel as 371 Vierstimmige Choralgesiinge.
— Bert Polman
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