Music & the Spoken Word: Our ‘songs of loudest praise’

Editor’s note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This will be given Oct. 24, 2021.

In the 1630s, when German clergyman Martin Rinkhart wrote the hymn that the Tabernacle Choir just sang, “Now Thank We All Our God,” Europe was experiencing a famine, a long war and deadly plagues. And yet Rinkhart found reason to pen these words of praise and gratitude:

Now thank we all our God
With hearts and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom his earth rejoices;
Who, from our mothers’ arms,
Hath blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love
And still is ours today.
(See “Now Thank We All Our God,” Hymns, no. 95.)

Today we likewise have reason to thank our God. After more than 18 months of restrictions brought on by the pandemic, the Tabernacle Choir, Orchestra and Bells at Temple Square are performing again in person. Until now we have been airing previously recorded broadcasts, with new “Spoken Word” messages added each week. The inspiring music of the choir and orchestra — even though it wasn’t live — inspired and lifted us during those difficult times. Still, there’s nothing like being together in person. And we feel deeply grateful to be together again, continuing 93 years of continuous broadcasting.

Read more: Following 555-day pandemic-forced pause, Tabernacle Choir makes ‘the air with music ring’ once again

Hymns of praise and thanksgiving have always been an essential part of the repertoire of the choir and orchestra. But today those same hymns take on new meaning.

So, after what we’ve been through together, we reunite to thank God for what we’ve learned while we were apart. We’re thankful that tough times and difficult days have deepened our awareness of blessings we would otherwise take for granted. We’re thankful for cherished relationships, as we’ve realized more than ever how much we need each other. And we’re thankful that even when things seem dark and discouraging, we can hold on to hope, seek for the light and carry on in faith. After all, that’s why this broadcast exists: to inspire all, in good times and bad, with the hope and peace and love of God.

The last time we sang together, on March 8, 2020, the choir and orchestra performed one of their signature songs, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” Today we conclude with this same hymn of praise that captures so well our feelings. Every blessing — including some that are unexpected — comes from a loving God who extends to us His never-ceasing mercy and grace. In gratitude, today and always, we offer Him our “songs of loudest praise” (see “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” Hymns, published 1948, no. 70).

Tuning in …

The “Music & the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160AM/102.7FM, ksl.com, BYtUv, BYUradio, Dish and DirectTV, SiriusXM Radio (Ch. 143), the tabernaclechoir.org, youtube.com/TheTabernacleChoiratTempleSquare and Amazon Alexa (must enable skill). The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at musicandthespokenword.com/viewers-listeners/airing-schedules.

See the Church News’ archive of ‘Spoken Word’ messages