36. My Heart Speaks Out on Those Who Sin

Text Information
First Line: My heart speaks out on those who sin
Title: My Heart Speaks Out on Those Who Sin
Versifier: Bert Witvoet (1981)
Meter: LM
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Topic: Brevity & Frailty of Life; Love: God's Love to Us; Alternative Harmonizations (4 more...)
Copyright: Text © 1987, CRC Publications
Tune Information
Composer: J. Frederick Wolle (1888)
Arranger (alt. arr.): Roy Hopp (1987)
Meter: LM
Key: d minor
Copyright: Alternative arrangement © 1987, CRC Publications.

Text Information:

A meditation on the godlessness of the wicked and on the great goodness of God.

Scripture References:
st. 1 = vv. 1-4
st. 2 = vv. 5-6a
st. 3 = vv. 6b-8
st. 4 = vv. 9-10
st. 5 =vv. 11-12

Psalm 36's reflections on the godless character of the wicked (st. 1) precede an especially rich observation of God's goodness: God's love, faithfulness, righteousness, and justice (st. 2) are manifest in God's preservation of all life, in his protection of all who take refuge in him, and in his bounteous provision for all their needs (st. 3). In rapid succession the psalm gives us three striking and fertile images: God's "river of delights" (v. 8), God's "fountain of life," and God's "light" by which "we see light" (v. 9; st. 4). The psalmist asks God to continue loving and providing for the faithful (st. 4) and closes with a prayer for deliverance from the wicked (st. 5). Psalm 36 provides no clue to its original occasion, but its theme and tone suggest a time of quiet meditation at the temple (see 48:9; 63:2) or during a wakeful hour of the night (see 42:8; 77:6). Bert Witvoet (PHH 4) paraphrased this psalm in 1981 for the Psalter Hymnal.

Liturgical Use
Beginning of worship; occasions of wisdom teaching contrasting God's goodness with the godlessness of the wicked; praise of the Lord for providing in creation and for leading in our lives (st. 2-4). The middle portion of this psalm (st. 3-4) is also tradition¬ally used in the Jewish morning prayer.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

John Frederick Wolle (b. Bethlehem, PA, 1863; d. Bethlehem, 1933) was a descendant of the Moravian missionaries who founded Bethlehem in 1741. Wolle taught mathe¬matics at the parochial school in that city. From 1881 to 1884 he was also the organist of Trinity Episcopal Church in Bethlehem. After going to Munich, Germany, to study the organ with Joseph Rheinberger, Wolle returned to Bethlehem to become organist at the Moravian Church and Lehigh University (1887-1905). In 1898 he founded and conducted the Bethlehem Bach choir, which gave the American premiere of J. S. Bach's B Minor Mass in 1900. Wolle taught music at the University of California from 1905 to 1911 and then returned again to live and teach in Bethlehem. He conducted Bach festivals at Lehigh (1912-1932) and promoted interest in Bach's choral works throughout the United States. A founder of the American Guild of Organists, he wrote organ transcriptions of orchestral compositions by Bach and Richard Wagner.

Wolle wrote PALMARUM in 1888 for the Central Moravian Church of Bethlehem; the tune was first published in the Moravian Offices of Worship and Hymns (1891). It was first used as a setting for "Ride On, Ride On in Majesty" (382), which explains the tune's title. Later it became associated with the missionary hymn "Fling Out the Banner." PALMARUM's ascending melodic phrases give the tune a confident cast. Repeated melodic notes require clear articulation in accompaniment. The alternate setting by Roy Hopp (PHH 11) provides a helpful descant for stanzas 2 and 4.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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