586

I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art

Full Text

1 I greet thee, who my sure Redeemer art,
my only trust and Savior of my heart,
who pain didst undergo for my poor sake;
I pray thee from our hearts all cares to take.

2 Thou art the King of mercy and of grace,
reigning omnipotent in every place:
so come, O King, and our whole being sway;
shine on us with the light of thy pure day.

3 Thou art the life, by which alone we live,
and all our substance and our strength receive;
sustain us by thy faith and by thy power,
and give us strength in every trying hour.

4 Thou hast the true and perfect gentleness,
no harshness hast thou and no bitterness:
O grant to us the grace we find in thee,
that we may dwell in perfect unity.

5 Our hope is in no other save in thee;
our faith is built upon thy promise free;
Lord, give us peace, and make us calm and sure,
that in thy strength we evermore endure.

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Scripture References

Thematically related:

Further Reflections on Scripture References

The strong text of "I Greet My Sure Redeemer" features many themes suitable to various times and places of Christian worship – indeed, to all Christian living: Jesus is my Redeemer, whom I love (st. 1); Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords (st. 2); Jesus lives in us and enables us to live (st. 3); Jesus is our model for personal growth and community (st. 4) ;Jesus is revealed in the Scriptures (st. 5).

 

Bert Polman, Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

The best-loved expressions of praise for God’s care-taking work of his children comes from the familiar words of Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1, Question and Answer 1: “My only comfort in life and death [is] that I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil...Because I belong to him, Christ by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes we wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.”

 
This great truth is explained more completely by Belgic Confession, Article 20. God has given his Son to die for us “…by a most perfect love, and raising him to life for our justification, in order that by him, we might have immortality and eternal life.” And in Article 21, “…He endured all this for the forgiveness of our sins.” For this redemptive work we give praise and adoration.

586

I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art

Call to Worship

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
those he redeemed from trouble
and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south.
Some wandered in desert wastes,
finding no way to an inhabited town;
hungry and thirsty,
their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress;
he led them by a straight way,
until they reached an inhabited town.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wonderful works to humankind.
For he satisfies the thirsty,
and the hungry he fills with good things.
—Psalm 107:1-9, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Assurance

The Lord works vindication
and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far he removes our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion for his children,
so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him.
For he knows how we were made;
he remembers that we are dust.
As for mortals, their days are like grass;
they flourish like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting
to everlasting
on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,
to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
—Psalm 103:6-18, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two
586

I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art

Tune Information

Name
TOULON
Key
F Major
Meter
10.10.10.10

Recordings

586

I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art

Hymn Story/Background

The strong text of "I Greet Thee, My Sure Redeemer Art" features many themes suitable to various times and places of Christian worship—indeed, to all Christian living: Jesus is my Redeemer; Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords (st. 2); Jesus lives in us and enables us to live (st. 3); Jesus is our model for personal growth and community (st. 4); Jesus is our hope (st. 5).
 
The original French text, “Je te salue, mon certain Redempteur,” was published in the 1545 Strasbourg edition of Clement Marot's Psalms and appears to be a Protestant version of the Roman Catholic hymn "Salve Regina." The French text was later printed in Opera, volume 6 of an 1868 edition of John Calvin's works, and has been attributed to Calvin himself. However, modern scholars such as Pierre Pidoux have found no real proof for Calvin's authorship, and Calvin (unlike Martin Luther) left no heritage of adapting Roman Catholic texts. The translation (1868) is mostly the work of Elizabeth L. Smith; it was published in Philip Schaff's Christ in Song (New York, 1869).
 
Smith's translation of this text came to eight stanzas in the same meter as the French original, 10.10.6.6.6.6.6.6. It is not known who condensed the text to fit the 10.10.10.10 meter found in modern hymnals.
 
TOULAN was originally an adaptation of the Genevan Psalter melody for Psalm 124. In one melodic variant or another and with squared-off rhythms, the tune was used in English and Scottish psalters for various psalm texts. It was published in the United States in its four-line abridged form (called MONTAGUE) by Lowell Mason and George Webb in The National Psalmist (1848). That version, now called TOULON, is named quite arbitrarily after the French city. Sing the outer stanzas in unison and the middle stanzas in harmony. 
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Elizabeth Lee Allen Smith (b. Hanover, NH, 1817; d. New York, 1898) was the daughter of the theologian, college president, and hymn writer William Allen (who published his Psalms and Hymns in 1835). In 1843 she married Henry Boynton Smith, who served on the faculty of Union Theological Seminary in New York City (1850-1877). Well-versed in various languages, she traveled with her husband in Europe in 1869, where he sought to recuperate from physical and mental collapse. The writer of her husband's memoirs, she also inherited an interest in hymnody from her father and translated hymns from German and French.
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

The Genevan Psalter is the major gift of the Reformed branch of the Reformation to the song of the church. John Calvin (1509-1564) first experienced congregational singing of the psalms in Strasbourg when serving as a pastor of French exiles there, and when returning to Geneva in 1541 he finally persuaded the city council to permit congregational singing, which they had banned entirely under the influence of Ulrich Zwingli. Just two months after returning to Geneva, Calvin wrote in his Ecclesiastical Ordinances: "It will be good to introduce ecclesiastical songs, the better to incite the people to pray to and praise God. For a beginning the little children are to be taught; then with time all the church will be able to follow." Calvin set about overseeing the development of several metrical psalms with melodies, rather than the hymns, or chorales, of the Lutheran tradition, and also in contrast to the published psalters with texts only that followed in England and Scotland. The emerging Genevan Psalter was published in instalments until completed in 1562, including the 150 psalms, the Ten Commandments and the Song of Simeon. He employed the best French poets and composers to prepare metrical settings rather than continuing to chant the psalms, since poetry in meter was the popular form of the day—and also the choice for the Lutheran chorale.
 
The publication event was the largest in publishing history until then; twenty-four printers in Geneva alone, plus presses in Paris, Lyons, and elsewhere produced more than 27,000 copies in the first two years; more than 100,000 copies were available in over thirty editions. The Genevan Psalter was extremely popular, and almost immediately translated into Dutch, Hungarian, and German. Due to the intense persecution of the French Huguenots in the 16th century, the center of activity of the Reformed branch of the Reformation moved away from France and especially to the Netherlands, and from there to Indonesia, South Africa, and North America. The most recent translation (2004) of the entire psalter is into Japanese. The most recent English translation of the entire Genevan Psalter is available with melodies from the Canadian Reformed Book of Praise, available at http://www.canrc.org/?page=23.
 
Calvin’s goal was to provide a distinct tune for every psalm, so that each psalm would have its own identity. Every tune would then bring to mind a particular psalm. The psalter didn’t quite reach this goal: it contains 125 different tunes. Today, only a few of those Genevan tunes are in wide use, among them the psalm tune most widely known around the world, often identified as OLD HUNDRETH, or simply, “The Doxology.” 
— Bert Polman
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