The trees of the field shall clap their hands

Today’s song from Sing Praise is “You shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace” by Stuart Dauermann. I’ve given a different phrase from the song as a title to the blog post to avoid duplicating one used previously.  In terms of ‘modern’ worship songs this is now a golden oldie, dating from 1975 but still popular in some churches as a rousing way to round off an act of worship. The tradition has become to start slow and sing it three or four times getting faster each time, clapping at appropriate points in the words and ending with a shout of some kind.

The text is from Isaiah 55:12, the part dealing with the restoration to Israel after exile. So it’s really not so much about going out into the world, as coming back into God’s presence after a period of exile. The picture language of mountains singing and trees clapping their hands is perhaps meant to remind us that the holistic nature of God’s creation takes in the whole world, not just the fortunes of mankind.  If humanity is at peace with God and neighbour, the whole creation rejoices in that.  So maybe this song should fit better as a response to confession and absolution, or after the sharing of the Peace, rather than at the end of the service?

1 thought on “The trees of the field shall clap their hands”

  1. I plead guilty to all the things Stephen says. I’ve obviously become an oldie myself – whether “golden” or not let others judge! And he’s quite right that we could do with exploring how to use hymns and songs in unexpected contexts. I remember how shocked my vicar was, in my first curacy, when I used the words of “God save our gracious queen” as a prayer during the intercessions in a church service!

    I didn’t see the point of having a different arrangement of the music from the “standard” one in Mission Praise.

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