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To Know Christ and to Make Him Known



July 12, 2020: Chorale Prelude on “O Store Gud” and “How Great Thou Art”

Music Message for 7/12 from Danny

(If you do not see the music icons/links within this post, please click on the July 12, 2020 title/link above.)

For this week, I drew inspiration from Tim’s recommendation of using the Swedish hymn “Children of the Heavenly Father” as an organ piece during the service.  This made me want to pick out something to do for another favorite Swedish hymn of mine: “How Great Thou Art” (“O Store Gud” in Swedish).  This hymn, like “Children of the Heavenly Father,” uses a Swedish folk melody as its tune and is not found in our hymnal.  It is widely used in many denominations’ hymnals, however—not just in the Lutheran ones.The original Swedish words were written by Carl Boberg (a poet and a member of Sweden’s national legislature) in 1885. The story is that Boberg was inspired to write the hymn after walking home from church one day.  During that walk, a storm suddenly arose and then subsided into calm.

“O Store Gud” was translated into German and then into Russian–and then it was next ranslated into English from the Russian version by English missionary Stuart K. Hine in the 1930s and 40s.  Hine also added two original verses of his own to the hymn.  These verses are are now what are called verses three and four in most English-language hymnals today—following after only two of Boberg’s verses (which were originally nine).

Anyway, here we now have the music selections that go with this hymn.  First here is my recording of an organ piece that makes use of the tune: the Chorale Prelude on O Store Gud by Robert A. Hobby,  Hobby is a modern church composer who serves as Director of Music at Trinity English Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Chorale Prelude by Robert A. Hobby


And then here is what I worked out for an organ accompaniment for this hymn (along with the words to follow/sing along with at home).  Thanks very much for listening!

Hymn “How Great Thou Art”

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Chorus:
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.

[Chorus]

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on a Cross, my burdens gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

[Chorus]

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: “My God, how great Thou art!”

[Chorus]