Above: Geneva, Switzerland, and Mont Blanc, Between 1860 and 1890
Image Source = Library of Congress
Reproduction Number = LC-USZ62-108842
WILLIAM KETHE (DIED JUNE 6, 1594)
Presbyterian Hymn Writer
Surviving information about the life of William Kethe is sketchy. He was of Scottish origin. During the reign of Queen Mary I of England (1553-1558) he resided on the European mainland, mainly in Geneva. The accession of Queen Elizabeth I (reigned 1558-1603) did not prompt Kethe’s immediate return to Britain. No, in 1559-1561, our saint, who had helped to translate the Geneva Bible (1560), served as an emissary to English-speaking congregations in Europe. When he did return to the British Isles, Kethe assumed pastoral duties at Childe Okeford near Blandford). He, a good friend of John Knox, also functioned as a chaplain to the forces of Ambrose Dudley, the Earl of Warwick, during the campaigns of 1563 and 1569.
Kethe’s main contribution was musical, however. He, “no unready rhymer,” wrote metrical versions of Psalms. The Scottish Psalter of 1564-1565 contains all of them; the Anglo-Genevan Psalter of 1561 has twenty-five. Perhaps Kethe’s most famous metrical text is this classic , the version of Psalm 100, as the Scottish Psalter of 1650 presents it:
All people that on earth do dwell,
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice.
Him serve with mirth, His praise forth tell;
Come ye before Him and rejoice.
Know that the Lord is God indeed;
Without our aid He did us make;
We are His folk, He doth us feed,
And for His sheep He doth us take.
O enter then His gates with praise,
Approach with joy His courts unto;
Praise, laud, and bless His name always,
For it is seemly so to do.
For why the Lord our God is good;
His mercy is for ever sure;
His truth at all times firmly stood,
And shall from age to age endure.
That is a fine legacy.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
JANUARY 6, 2014 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF THE EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
Dear God of beauty,
you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to
William Kethe and others, who have composed hymn texts.
May we, as you guide us,
find worthy hymn texts to be icons,
through which we see you.
In the Name of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK
THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR
THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP
THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH