Here at Church of the Servant we have a little thing we do called the “Joyful Noise Orchestra,” or “JNO” to insiders. It’s a group of a dozen or more instrumentalists who lead the congregational singing every few months–kind of an updated version of the West Gallery Players. On November 2 we led the lectionary Psalm 107 in the form of the song “Thanks Be to God Our Savior (MP3).”
This song has an interesting history. COS member David Diephouse wrote the text in 1985 for the Psalter Hymnal and the text was paired with the early Reformed tune GENEVAN 107. (David, if you’d like to comment on that process, I’d love to hear it.) Last Summer when Guitarchestra led worship I needed a song for the lectionary Psalm 107 that the guitarists could play, so I wrote new music for David’s text. When Psalm 107 came up again in the lectionary, this time with JNO, I decided to rework the song for piano and instrumental ensemble.
If there were a battle between GENEVAN 107 and my tune, I doubt mine would prevail. But it does make an interesting study in song “migration” and word/text pairing.