Blessed,oh, blessed are they forever, Whose help is from the Lord Most High. The HYMN OF THE DAY, “Praise the Almighty” (797), is based on Psalm 146. It is the prayer of the paralytic and those who, in faith, carried him to Jesus. “Blessed are they forever, who in hope to Christ draw nigh. To all who trust in Him, our Lord, Will aid and counsel now afford. Alleluia!” It is our prayer, of penitent sinners, for mercy crying. To all who trust in Him—“Their faithful God He will remain.” Thanks be to God! “He helps his children in distress! Alleluia!”
Originally in eight stanzas, our version has stanzas 1-3, 5, and 8 of the original. It was written by Johann D. Herrnschmidt (1675-1723) and published in the 1714 Neues geistreiches Gesangbuch. He served as professor at Halle University. It was translated into English by Alfred
Brauer for the 1925 Australian Lutheran Hymn Book.
The anonymous tune was published sometime around 1665, but since has become inseparably united with “Praise the Almighty.”
Lutheran hymnologist W. G. Polack (1890-1950) described this as “one of the most brilliant gems in our chorale treasury.”
The PRELUDE is a setting of “Praise the Almighty” by Belgian composer Flor Peeters (1903-1986). He served as professor at the Lemmens Institute in Mechelen (where he had been a student), the Conservatory of Gent, and the Royal Flemish Conservatory of Music, all while serving as a parish organist, known for his skill in improvisation of preludes and postludes. Among his published compositions are 213 hymn preludes for the liturgical year. His works also include organ curriculum and “The Organ and Its Music in the Netherlands 1500-1800” in English, Dutch, French, and German.
In today’s Prelude, listen for the melody in the long, low notes played in the pedal.
The lessons are Genesis 28.10–17; Ephesians 4.22–28; and St. Matthew 9.1–8.
The hymns are: TLH 317 Alas, My God, My Sins are Great
797 Praise the Almighty
942 Kyrie, God Father in Heaven Above
746 Through Jesus’ Blood and Merit
607 From Depths of Woe
977 I Will Sing My Maker’s Praises
Prelude: Praise the Almighty -Flor Peeters
Choral Voluntary: If Ye Love Me -Thomas Tallis
Postlude: Prelude and Fugue in G -J.S. Bach