674

As Moses Raised the Serpent Up

Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

John 3:14-17, part of Jesus' nighttime discourse with Nicodemus, forms the basis of this song and includes that famous profession of faith "God so loved the world. . . ," one of the best-known and most frequently memorized verses in the entire Bible. In this setting that profession is used virtually as a refrain but is numbered as stanzas 2 and 4 for emphasis.

 

Bert Polman, Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

The Catechism says that those who know Christ’s forgiveness are “to thank God for such deliverance” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1, Question and Answer 2). As a result, “With our whole lives we may show that we are thankful to God for his benefits, so that he may be praised through us, and that we may be assured of our faith by its fruits, and so that by our godly living our neighbors may be won over to Christ” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 32, Question and Answer 86).

674

As Moses Raised the Serpent Up

Assurance

During his whole life on earth,
but especially at the end,
Christ sustained
in body and soul
the wrath of God against the sin of the whole human race.
This he did in order that,
by his suffering as the only atoning sacrifice,
he might deliver us, body and soul,
from eternal condemnation,
and gain for us God’s grace,
righteousness, and eternal life.
—Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A 37
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Blessing/Benediction

May God the Father, who so loved our world
that he gave his only Son;
may Jesus Christ, whose love for us
made him obedient to death, even death on a cross;
and may the Holy Spirit,
who enables us to love God and each other,
comfort, encourage, and protect you.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

A Prayer of Thanksgiving for the Sacrifice of Christ
O God, architect of mysteries, you had Moses raise the serpent up to cure snakebite. You arranged the world so that whoever believes in your Son, lifted up on the cross, may not perish but have everlasting life. In your mercy, his death is the anti-venom that prevents our death. O God, architect of mysteries, your ways are higher than our ways. So we praise and thank you in Jesus’ name. Amen.
— Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
674

As Moses Raised the Serpent Up

Tune Information

Name
O WALY WALY
Key
G Major
Meter
8.8.8.8

Recordings

Musical Suggestion

Sing this Scripture song after the sermon as a grateful response to the good news that God so loved the world that he sent Christ not to condemn, but to save.
(from Reformed Worship, Issue 90)
— Emily Brink
674

As Moses Raised the Serpent Up

Hymn Story/Background

John 3:14-17, part of Jesus' nighttime discourse with Nicodemus, forms the basis of this song and includes that famous profession of faith "God so loved the world...," one of the best-known and most frequently memorized verses in the entire Bible. In this setting that profession is used virtually as a refrain but is numbered as stanzas 2 and 4 for emphasis. Marie J. Post prepared the versification in 1985 for use with the tune O WALY WALY in the 1987 Psalter Hymnal. She said this versification was one of her easiest assignments: “The lines simply fell into the music!”
 
O WALY WALY is a traditional English melody associated with the song "O Waly, Waly, gin love be bony," the words of which date back at least to Ramsay's Tea Table Miscellany (1724-1732), and as the setting for a folk ballad about Jamie Douglas. It is also well known in the Appalachian region of the United States.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Marie (Tuinstra) Post (b. Jenison, MI, 1919; d. Grand Rapids, MI, 1990) versified this text in 1983 for the Psalter Hymnal 1987. While attending Dutch church services as a child, Post was first introduced to the Genevan psalms, which influenced her later writings. She attended Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she studied with Henry Zylstra. From 1940 to 1942 she taught at the Muskegon Christian Junior High School. For over thirty years Post wrote poetry for the Grand Rapids Press and various church periodicals. She gave many readings of her poetry in churches and schools and has been published in a number of journals and poetry anthologies. Two important collections of her poems are I Never Visited an Artist Before (1977) and the posthumous Sandals, Sails, and Saints (1993). A member of the 1987 Psalter Hymnal Revision Committee, Post was a significant contribu­tor to its array of original texts and paraphrases.
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

Emily Ruth Brink (b. 1940, Grand Rapids, MI) graduated from Calvin College (BA in Music), the University of Michigan (MM in Church Music) and Northwestern University, Evanston, IL (PhD in Music Theory). She taught at Manhattan (Montana) Christian School (1964-1966), the State University of New York (New Paltz; 1966-1967), Trinity Christian College (Palos Heights, IL; 1967-1972), and the University of Illinois (Campaign/Urbana; 1974-1983), also serving as organist and choir director in both Episcopal and Christian Reformed churches in those areas.

In 1977 she was appointed to the Psalter Hymnal Revision Committee, and in 1983 moved to Grand Rapids in a change of careers to become the first music and worship editor of the Christian Reformed Church. She was the founding editor of Reformed Worship; editor of the Psalter Hymnal (1987), Songs for LiFE (1994), Sing! A New Creation (2001, 2002); co-editor with Bert Polman of The Psalter Hymnal Handbook (1998), and editor of many other worship-related publications. Since 1984 she has been an adjunct professor at Calvin Theological Seminary, directing the seminary choir in the first years, and introducing courses on church music and worship before being granted emeritus status in 2009. 

Her ecumenical work began with the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, becoming the first woman president (1990-1992); in 2006 she was named a Fellow of the society in recognition of distinguished services to hymnody and hymnology. She served in both local and national offices of the American Guild of Organists, and has been a member for more than twenty years of the Consultation on Common Texts, serving as chair from 2008 to 2014.

In 2002, she became a Senior Research Fellow at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, contributing to The Worship Sourcebook and other publications; serving as program chair of the annual Symposium on Worship; and helping to plan and participate in worship conferences in more than fifteen countries. 
— Bert Polman
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