Why Stand So Far Away, My God

Scripture References

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Our songs and prayers include honesty before God in which we express the pain we experience over our own sins and failures, the difficulties in both our lives and others’ lives, and our laments at the suffering and brokenness that marks our world and our lives. We have assurance, says Belgic Confession, Article 26, that Christ, our intercessor, will hear us, “since he suffered, being tempted, he is also able to help those who are tempted.”


We are encouraged to approach the throne with boldness so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Belgic Confession, Article 26, based on Hebrews 4). “We grieve that the church…has become a broken communion in a broken world” (Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 40).

We also “lament that our abuse of creation has brought lasting damage to the world we have been given...” (Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 51). And we cry to God for those who suffer in our world, knowing “that God…is in a special way the God of the destitute, the poor and the wronged...” (Belhar Confession, Section 4).


Why Stand So Far Away, My God

Additional Prayers

Timeless and mysterious God, we cannot begin to understand your ways,
but we trust your justice and your mercy.
Help us to face the unbelief and injustice in our day
with strength from your Holy Spirit and confidence in your ultimate redemption.
We pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
— Psalms for All Seasons (http://www.psalmsforallseasons.org)

A Prayer for Vindication
O God, make this a bad day for tyrants. Displace them with righteous rulers. Vindicate the oppressed. Right their wrongs. Raise them back up to the full stature of human beings created in your image. Crown them with glory and honor, so that even their children and infants will silence foes and avengers by singing your praise with all their hearts. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
— Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.

Why Stand So Far Away, My God

Tune Information

f minor



Why Stand So Far Away, My God

Hymn Story/Background

Psalms 9 and 10 may have originally been one psalm, and are so treated in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament), since together they form one acrostic poem with sections that begin with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Therefore it is entirely understandable that Ruth Duck decided to write a composite setting of these two psalms, even though they are so different in content.  Praise predominates in Psalm 9, whereas Psalm 10 is more a cry for justice. But both psalms plea for God to remember the poor and weak who suffer under the rule of proud and ruthless tyrants who oppress and crush those under them. Those prayers are needed again today on behalf of brothers and sisters who live in “cruel chaotic times” (648:3) in too many parts of our world. Worship leaders should consider which ever stanzas are most appropriate, perhaps using some from both settings as part of a prayer of intercession. 
— Emily Brink

Author Information

Ruth Duck (b. 1947), is a professor of worship emerita at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. Her powerful texts have emerged as the major part of the cutting edge of language that speaks of God in universal terms and in poetry that is as poignant as it is stoic. GIA has published fifty-eight of her texts in the collection Dancing in the Universe (G-3833). Seven of them are also set in octavo form. 

Before coming to Garrett in 1989, she served as pastor at United Church of Christ parishes in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts. Her undergraduate work was done at Southwestern-at-Memphis University, which is now called Rhodes College. 

She holds two masters degrees—one from Chicago Theological Seminary and one from the University of Notre Dame. Her doctorate in theology was earned at Boston University. Her academic credentials are weighty ones and balance beautifully with her pastoral experience dealing with the everyday tasks as the spiritual leader of a parish community.
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

This song is intended to be sung to the tune, MORNING SONG, found on number 647. 
— Emily Brink
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