I0: Psalm 90 – “Lord, Thou Hast Been Our Refuge” (Vaughan Williams)

By | January 1, 2018

As we leave one year and enter a new one, it is a good time to pray and meditate upon Psalm 90, that wonderful Psalm of Moses that considers the timeless nature of our God.

Below you will find a link to “Lord, Thou Has Been Our Refuge,” a setting of Psalm 90 by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958). In this setting Vaughan Williams combines an original setting of Psalm 90 as taken from the The Book of Common Prayer (1892) with the great hymn “O God, Our Help in Ages Past,” a paraphrase of Psalm 90 by Isaac Watts (1674-1748). The complete text of Vaughan William’s setting is below. This particular performance was recorded in 2010 at Westminster Cathedral in London, England at a special service held commemorating those who lost their life in the Battle of Britain 70 years earlier.

In this new year let us pray with Moses that “the glorious Majesty of the Lord be upon us” and that God prospers “the work of our hands.”

Psalm 90. Domine, refugium

[A Prayer of Moses. the man of God.]

Lord, Thou hast been our refuge from one generation to another.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever the earth and the world were made,
Thou art God from everlasting and world without end.

Thou turnest man to destruction;
again Thou sayest, “Come again ye children of men.”
For a thousand years in Thy sight are but as yesterday,
seeing that is past as a watch in the night.

As soon as Thou scatterest them They are even as a sleep
and fade away suddenly like the grass.
In the morning it is green and groweth up,
but in the evening it is cut down, dried up and withered.

For we consume away in Thy displeasure,
and are afraid at Thy wrathful indignation.
For when Thou art angry all our days are gone;
we bring our years to an end as a tale that is told.

The years of our age are three score years and ten
and though men be so strong that they come to fourscore years,
yet is their strength but labour and sorrow.
So soon passeth it away and we are gone.

Turn Thee again, O Lord, at the last.
Be gracious unto Thy servants.
O satisfy us with Thy mercy and that soon
so shall we rejoice and be glad all the days of our life.

Lord, Thou hast been our refuge from one generation to another.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever the earth and the world were made,
Thou art God from everlasting and world without end.

And the glorious Majesty of the Lord be upon us.
Prosper Thou, O prosper Thou the work of our hands,
O prosper Thou our handy work.

Text: The Book of Common Prayer (1892)

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