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346

In Sweet Communion, Lord, with You

Full Text

1 In sweet communion, Lord, with you
I constantly abide;
my hand you hold within your own
to keep me near your side.

2 Your counsel through my earthly way
shall guide me and control,
and then to glory afterward
you will receive my soul.

3 Whom have I, Lord, in heaven but you,
to whom my thoughts aspire?
And, having you, what more on earth
is there I can desire?

4 Though flesh and heart should faint and fail,
the Lord will ever be
the strength and portion of my heart,
my God eternally.

5 To live apart from God is death;
'tis good his face to seek.
My refuge is the living God;
his praise I long to speak.

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Scripture References

Thematically related:

Further Reflections on Scripture References

This text is a paraphrase of the final segment of a wisdom psalm, Psalm 73:23-28 (for general comments on this psalm see PHH 73). The versification of the text (usually one biblical verse per stanza) is a revision of that found in the 1912 Psalter.

 

 

"In Sweet Communion" sets forth the joy of walking closely with God (st. 1 and 5), following his directives (st. 2), shunning earthly distractions (st. 3), and experiencing his comfort and power. The final stanza proclaims the wisdom theme of the psalm: "To live apart from God is death; 'tis good his face to seek."

 

Psalter Hymnal Handbook

346

In Sweet Communion, Lord, with You

Assurance

May be read before the singing of “In Sweet Communion”
Surely God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
 
But as for me,
my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
 
This is what the wicked are like—
always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.
Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
and have washed my hands in innocence.
 
All day long I have been afflicted,
and every morning brings
new punishments.
When I tried to understand all this,
it troubled me deeply
till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.
 
Surely you place them on slippery ground;
you cast them down to ruin.
How suddenly are they destroyed,
completely swept away by terrors!
They are like a dream when one awakes;
when you arise, Lord,
you will despise them as fantasies.
 
When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,
I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.
Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
— Lift Up Your Hearts (http://www.liftupyourheartshymnal.org)

Additional Prayers

You, O Lord, have placed your hand upon us.
We need not run from you in shame.
You, O Christ, have placed your life within us.
Our lives will not end in isolation or obscurity.
You, O Holy Spirit, are nurturing your passion within us.
Turn us from vanity and reckless desire.
Father, Son, and Spirit, we give you thanks and praise. Amen.
— Psalms for All Seasons (http://www.psalmsforallseasons.org)
346

In Sweet Communion, Lord, with You

Tune Information

Name
PRAYER
Key
B♭ Major
Meter
8.6.8.6

Recordings

Musical Suggestion

When using the optional text as a lead-in to the singing of “In Sweet Communion,” consider having a keyboard player improvise under the reading. Toward the end of the reading, begin the introduction of the melody, creating a seamless transition between the reading and the congregational singing.
— Psalms for All Seasons (http://www.psalmsforallseasons.org)
346

In Sweet Communion, Lord, with You

Hymn Story/Background

This text is a paraphrase of the final segment of a wisdom psalm, Psalm 73:23-28. The versification of the text (usually one biblical verse per stanza) is a revision of that found in the 1912 Psalter.
 
"In Sweet Communion" sets forth the joy of walking closely with God (st. 1 and 5), following his directives (st. 2), shunning earthly distractions (st. 3), and experiencing his comfort and power. The final stanza proclaims the wisdom theme of the psalm: "To live apart from God is death; 'tis good his face to seek."
 
This simple but serviceable tune has an elementary harmonization that invites singing in harmony. To emphasize the theme, sing the final stanza in unison both at the beginning and the end as a frame with an alternate organ setting. Sing all other stanzas in parts. Maintain one broad pulse per bar.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

The 1912 Psalter was the first ecumenical psalter published in the United States and the most widely used metrical psalter of the twentieth century in North America.  The United Presbyterian Church invited all other Reformed and Presbyterian denominations to join them in the effort to provide a new versifications of the psalms; six Presbyterian denominations, as well as the Christian Reformed Church and the Reformed Church in America joined in the effort in revising the 1887 Psalter (whose texts actually dated back to the 1871 Book of Psalms; the 1887 edition had added music to the texts).  The 1912 Psalter included all the psalms in 413 settings, eight doxologies, and the three Lukan canticles (Song of Mary, Song of Zechariah, and Song of Simeon).
 
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