One day in the early 1830’s, Scottish statesman Sir Robert Grant (1779-1838) was studying Psalm 104 and became so inspired that he penned a joyful meditation on the text: O Worship the King. Through the years, those original, inspired verses, first published in Edward Bickersteth’s Christian Psalmody (1833), have remained mostly intact – although hymnals may vary as to which of Grant’s verses they include.
O Worship the King is most commonly sung to the German tune Lyons but, when I was growing up, I learned this hymn with the less singable tune Hanover. It was thought for many years that G.F. Handel wrote Hanover, however hymn scholars now usually credit its creation in 1708 to English organist and composer William Croft (1677-1727).
I’ve heard some slow, serious, and – dare I say – dismal renditions of the Hanover version of O Worship the King through the years. So when I set out to create a piano arrangement of this hymn, I decided it needed to fit its joyful and inspired text and I wasn’t going to give pianists the option to play it like a dirge. I gave it a bright, syncopated rhythm – suitable for dancing in church aisles 🙂 – and paired it with another “kingly” hymn of praise, Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise, for a fun medley to use on Palm Sunday, Christ the King Sunday, or really any time of the year to add energy and enthusiasm. Enjoy!
O worship the King all-glorious above,
O gratefully sing his power and his love:
our shield and defender, the Ancient of Days,
pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise!