Come, My Soul and Bless the Lord
Singing Psalm 103

Perhaps you have long wondered how to better incorporate psalm singing in worship services with a congregation that is unfamiliar with the practice. Getting from Fanny Crosby to the psalms of David is no easy task. In my experience, there is no psalm selection that better eases this transition than Psalm 103C out of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. This psalm setting stands as one of the great highlights of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal, and it has the potential quickly to become one of your congregation’s favorite psalms (or songs) to sing.

A Psalm of Thanksgiving

This psalm stirs the heart of the singer to glorious piety. It begins by calling us to blessing the holy Name of the Lord in our most inward being, the human soul. Martin Luther once said this about Psalm 103, “This is a glorious Psalm, and full of the most ardent feelings and exercises of faith, and of a believing heart, a heart acknowledging the infinite mercies of God, both temporal and spiritual.”[1] Luther’s comments will be felt and confirmed by the congregation as they sing this psalm together.

A Psalm of Comfort

This psalm reminds us of the comfort offered by our God to His people. As the people of God are called into the presence of God, they realize their own sin (Isa. 6). This psalm reveals our God’s kind response to the people he has redeemed by the blood of Christ. William Plumer notes:

Our sins have been many; his judgments have been few. Our sins have been heavy as the sand of the sea; his corrections have been so light that, weak as we are, they have not crushed, but only humbled us. Our sins have been long continued and persistent; his strokes have been but occasional and of short duration. Our sins have been daily and very provoking; his patience has been every way amazing.[2]

When believers gather together and sing this psalm, they remind one another of the comforting presence of God as He redeems them by the saving work of Christ. Even the tune for this psalm setting, Keesee (by Fred and Ruth Coleman), appropriately fits the context for what is communicated by the psalmist to the people of God.

A Psalm for the Family

This psalm is not only great for congregational singing, but it is also pleasantly accessible in family worship. Every family should sing together on a regular basis. There is no better place to start singing psalms as a family than here. We started with the Trinity Psalter Hymnal app (IOS or Android), but we now gravitate towards singing a cappella. This psalm is our family psalm. We sing it no less than three times a day, and I often hear my children singing it as they play. It is my prayer that my children will pass on this beloved psalm to their children.  Psalms are timeless in their composition and great opportunities to memorize Scripture while also joyfully singing songs unto the Lord. May this psalm not only enrich your congregation’s worship, but abundantly bless your family as well.

[1] Martin Luther, A Manuel on the Book of Psalms (London, UK: Lutheran Library, 1837), 284.

[2] William S. Plumer, Studies in the Book of Psalms: Being a Critical and Expository Commentary, with Doctrinal and Practical Remarks on the Entire Psalter (Philadelphia; Edinburgh: J. B. Lippincott Company; A & C Black, 1872), 916.