465. Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above

1 Sing praise to God who reigns above,
the God of all creation,
the God of power, the God of love,
the God of our salvation.
My soul with comfort rich he fills,
and every grief he gently stills:
to God all praise and glory!

2 What God's almighty power has made,
in mercy he is keeping;
by morning glow or evening shade
his eye is never sleeping.
And where he rules in kingly might,
there all is just and all is right:
to God all praise and glory!

3 We sought the Lord in our distress;
O God, in mercy hear us.
Our Savior saw our helplessness
and came with peace to cheer us.
For this we thank and praise the Lord,
who is by one and all adored:
to God all praise and glory!

4 Let all who name Christ's holy name
give God the praise and glory.
Let all who know his power proclaim
aloud the wondrous story.
Cast every idol from its throne;
the Lord is God, and he alone:
to God all praise and glory!

Text Information
First Line: Sing praise to God who reigns above
Title: Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above
Author: Johann Jakob Schütz (1675)
Translator: Frances Elizabeth Cox (1864, alt.)
Meter: 87 87 887
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Scripture: ; ; ;
Topic: Funerals; King, God/Christ as; Praise & Adoration (4 more...)
Tune Information
Harmonizer: Heinrich Reimann (1895)
Meter: 87 87 887
Key: D Major

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Ps. 146:6-10
st. 2 = Ps. 121, Ps. 91

Johann J. Schütz (b. Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, 1640; d. Frankfurt-am-Main, 1690) wrote the original German text in nine stanzas, which began, "Sei Lob und Ehr' dem hochsten Gut." The text was published in his Christliches Gedenckbüchlein (1675) with the heading "Hymn of Thanksgiving" and with a reference to Deuteronomy 32:3: "I will proclaim the name of the Lord; O praise the greatness of our God!"

Trained at Tübingen, Schutz practiced law in Frankfurt his entire professional life. He was a close friend of Philipp Jakob Spener, the major force in the Pietist movement in Germany. The Pietists criticized the formalism of the Lutheran Church, stressed conversion and personal piety, and became famous for their prayer meetings and orphanages. Schutz was among the Pietists who left the Lutheran Church in 1686 to join the Moravians. His hymn texts were published in Christliche Gedenckbüchlein (1675) and Christliche Leuensregeln (1677), but only his "Sing Praise to God" is found today in English-language hymnals.

The translation by Francis Elizabeth Cox (b. Oxford, England, 1812; d. Headington, England, 1897) was published in Orby Shipley's Lyra Eucharistica and in Cox's Hymns from the German (both 1864). Cox wrote a number of original hymns, but few of these have survived; instead she is known for her translations of German hymns into English. She translated about eighty texts, many of which were published in her 1864 collection. Her choice of hymns was often determined by her friend, Baron Bunsen, the Prussian ambassador to England. Cox and Catherine Winkworth (PHH 194) are regarded as the best translators of German chorales into English.

Stanzas 14 in the Psalter Hymnal are derived from Cox's translation of the original stanzas 1, 3, 4, and 8. The text is an expansion in hymn form of the Old Testament theme found in the psalms: "God is great, and God is good!" As we sing, we affirm his power in creation, his love in redemption, his mercy toward his people, and the comfort he gives to those in grief. He is truly God, steadfast in mercy and abounding in love. For all these blessings we offer "to God all praise and glory!"

Liturgical Use:
As a hymn of thanksgiving and praise for God's providential care, especially for deliverance, comfort, and peace of mind (the "distress" in st. 3 could be seen as personal or corporate, local or national); funerals.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

MIT FREUDEN ZART has some similarities to the French chanson "Une pastourelle gentille" (published by Pierre Attaingnant in 1529) and to GENEVAN 138 (138). The tune was published in the Bohemian Brethren hymnal Kirchengesänge (1566) with Vetter's text "Mit Freuden zart su dieser Fahrt."

Splendid music for a great text, this rounded bar form tune (AABA) is one of the great hymn tunes of the Reformation. Sing the outer stanzas in unison and the middle ones in harmony, although the final phrase, "to God all praise and glory," could be sung consistently in unison.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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