In June 2017, Illumine held its first annual Songwriting Weekend where several songwriters came to Illumine with a single goal: to start and finish writing a song that can be used by congregations for worship. Each Thursday, we will be featuring one of the songs that was composed that weekend.
Why (did you write) this song?
“I wanted to give the timeless lyrics of Psalm 100 a new and accessible musical setting that brought out the jubilant nature of the text. It is a response of being reminded by the text of God's continual goodness and mercy to us, and of who we are in Him.” - Hannah Pendergrass
When adapting a Psalm into a song, there are two basic paths you can take with the lyrics. You can try taking the core ideas, and adapting them into poetry (as I did last week with Psalm 34) or you can try to change the words as little as possible. Hannah has done the latter and I think she has done a fantastic job.
I’ve always marveled at how some people are able to take a text that doesn’t rhyme, yet compose a melody that is so easy to sing and so catchy that you don’t even notice the lack of rhyming.
The subheading for this Psalm states, “For giving grateful praise” and I can’t think of a better way to describe it. The lyrics are a straightforward offering of thanks and praise to our God.
Use in Worship
The only complaint that I have about this song is that it is so short. That’s not to say I think Hannah should have made it longer, it’s simply so good, I wish there were more. I think it would work best if repeated multiple times, both for the sake of learning it, and to give it a little more room to breathe.
It would work well as a liturgical response as well, whether that be in response to the Words of Absolution, a Gospel reading, or the Lord’s Supper. There are any number of times throughout a service that “giving grateful praise” is appropriate.