Preparing for Worship – R.G. Huff, Wilshire member.
I was truly excited to see that we are singing one of my very favorite hymn tunes as the opening hymn in this Sunday’s service (Praise My Soul, the King of Heaven). It is a lofty, soaring melody by English-born organist and composer Mark Andrews; amazingly, this is his only hymn that is still included in hymnals. But in 1930, he certainly crafted a wonderful tune for this text.
The tune LAUDA ANIMA translates to the first three words of the hymn: “Praise, my soul.” In this Henry Lyte text, we call on angels and saints to join in the singing of praise to God. We recount how we have been favored, even in our distress. The parenting attributes are recounted, pointing out how God protects and rescues us, gently carrying us even in our feeble state.
But what always speaks loudest to me from this hymn — the part that grabs me and throws my spirit around the room — is the opening statement, which calls on me to involve my own soul in the enterprise of praise, reminding me that I have been “ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven”— and because of that, I must be about the business of singing praise evermore.
Those of us who have walked the path of faith for most of our lives often forget those basic acts of Christ in our lives: we have been paid for, made well, bought back to our best self with our slate wiped clean. If for no other reasons (and they are legion), we should be the first to stand and sing this glorious hymn.