Praise to God (Whirlwinds)

Praise to God, immortal praise
For the love that crowns our days
Bounteous Source of every joy
Let thy praise our tongues employ
For the blessings of the field
For the stores the gardens yield
For the joy which harvests bring
Grateful praises now we sing
Flocks that whiten all the plain
Yellow sheaves of ripened grain
All that spring with bounteous hand
Scatters o’er the smiling land
All that gen’rous autumn pours
From her overflowing stores
These, great God, to thee we owe
Source whence all our blessings flow
But Lord, should rising whirlwinds tear
From the stem it’s ripening ear
Should the fig tree’s bloss’ming shoot
Drop her green untimely fruit
Should the vine put forth no more
Nor the olive yield her store
Though the sick’ning flocks should fall
And the herds desert the stall
Should thy holy hand restrain
Th’early and the latter rain
Blast each op’ning bud of joy
And the rising year destroy
Should the vine put forth no more
Nor the olive yield her store
Should the rising whirlwinds come and tear the song from out our lungs
Yet to thee my soul shall raise
Grateful vows and solemn praise
And when every blessing’s flown
Love thee for thyself alone



“I found this text in the blue Hymnal: A Worship Book resource, which was put together in the ‘80s and finished in the early 90s. Hymns number 91 and 92 in the HWB are both part of a poem by Anna Barbauld, who wrote the text in 1772. I liked the idea of putting the two halves back together in one setting, and I especially liked the idea of combining these two ideas that seem to be in tension with one another. The half of the poem that serves as the text for number 91, Praise to God, immortal praise is a hymn of praise and thanksgiving; there is bounty in the fields, the flocks are whitening the plain, there are overflowing stores, life is fairly fantastic, and thus, God is to be praised. The second half of the poem, found in number 92, Lord, should rising whirlwinds, paints a picture of the flipside. Everything has fallen apart and destruction reigns. The last two lines are the reason I wanted to include this text in the collection. ‘Yet to thee my soul shall raise grateful vows and solemn praise / and when every blessing's flown, love thee for thyself alone.’ Those are words we need to hear. It is easy to see God in all that is good, but God is good all the time, even when when the whirlwinds tear the songs from our lungs.”  - Greg

“Many of the band members grew up in farming families and communities. Texts like this always remind me of my dad who worked the soil to provide for our family. He had a very real understanding of how his work alone wasn’t enough. He needed God’s provision and grace both on his farm and in his life. This song is a beautiful reminder of who is in control of it all and how He carefully and beautifully provides for His people through the blessings and bounties of His creation. The first two verses remind us of all that we have to be grateful for. He also carefully and beautifully provides for us through the events that surpass our liking and understanding. The third verse of this song is where we hear of the very real difficulties that we will face in our lives. There are moments in our lives where “the rising whirlwinds come and tear the songs from out our lungs.” When my dad passed away suddenly, the song was torn from my lungs for a long time. However, amongst these great difficulties, our lives will ever point to Him. We’ll love Him for who He is, not our circumstance. ‘And when every blessing’s flown, love thee for thyself alone.’ What a powerful vow!” - Mike

Michael – Lead Vocals; Rachel – Harmony Vocals; Adam – Banjo; Greg – Guitar; Seth – Piano; Kristina – Violin; Jackson – Bass

Text: Anna L. Barbauld, 1772 Music: Gregory J. Yoder, 2015