272. You Are Our God; We Are Your People

Text Information
First Line: It rained on the earth forty days, forty nights
Title: You Are Our God; We Are Your People
Author: David A. Hoekema (1978)
Meter: irregular
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Scripture: ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Topic: Biblical Names & Places: Abraham; Biblical Names & Places: Isaac; Biblical Names & Places: Noah (10 more...)
Copyright: Text and music © 1985, CRC Publications
Tune Information
Composer: David A. Hoekema (1978)
Meter: irregular
Key: D Major
Copyright: Text and music © 1985, CRC Publications

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Gen. 7, Gen. 9:13-15, 1 Pet. 3:18-22
st. 2 = Gen. 15:5, Gen. 17:1-8, Gen. 21:1-7
st. 3 = Heb. 8
st. 4 = Acts 2:38-3

David A. Hoekema (b. Paterson, NJ, 1950) composed both the text and the tune for this hymn in June 1978 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for the baptism of his daughter Janna, for whom he named the tune. Hoekema states:

One morning in June, while I walked the half-mile up the hill from my home to my office, a spirited little tune hummed its way into my mind, and at the same time some words and ideas that I had toyed with took clearer shape in relation to the tune. During the next week or so I added the harmony – a dissonant but rolling harmony that seemed to fit the tune especially well – and refined the text. I believe that this hymn was a gift given to me to celebrate my daughter's baptism.

Originally titled "Covenant Song," Hoekema's storylike text recounts various points in salvation history when God made covenant promises with his people: to Noah (st. 1; In Gen. 9 and also 1 Pet. 3, where Peter relates the flood story to baptism), to Abraham and Sarah (st. 2), and to us in the new covenant in Christ (st. 3), with baptism the sign of our union with Christ and his body, the people of God (st. 4). This hymn was first published in the 1987 Psalter Hymnal.

Liturgical Use
Infant or adult baptism; in conjunction with preaching on covenant history. Hoekema says it is also fitting after a week of rain!

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

JANNA is a strong tune built with some repeated phrases and sequences; a unique rhythmic pattern carries this song along resolutely from beginning to end. Sing JANNA in unison with lots of energy on a half-note pulse. This tune also makes a fine solo anthem. Sing stanzas 1 and 2 in antiphonal groups and stanzas 3 and 4 all together.

Hoekema is currently an academic dean at his alma mater, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan. He received a Ph.D. from Princeton University, taught philosophy at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota (1977-1984), and was executive director of the American Philosophical Association while teaching philosophy at the University of Delaware (1984-1993). In addition to many journal articles on philosophical issues, he has published Rights and Wrongs: Coercion, Punishment and the State (1986).

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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