Banquet without Walls
Hymns on the Psalms by Richard Leach

Author Richard Leach
Released 10/09
Catalog no. 125-429
Price $19.95 (U.S.)
Soft-cover, 174 pages

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"Hymnwriter and poet Richard Leach offers timeless and timely interpretations of the psalms. The paraphrases in Banquet without Walls fit closely with the original text, but Leach's modern language places the psalms boldly in contemporary times. For each hymn text, he provides the meter and in some cases possible tunes for congregational, choral, or small group singing. Leach gives fresh words to familiar psalms, clarifying and deepening their meaning. The first verse of Psalm 19 opens, 'Silent voices, unheard voices;' the second continues, 'Human voices, well-loved voices;' and the third brings the chorus together with his interpretation: 'Lift from nature, light from scripture;/yet the heart sings broken songs./ Shine your grace into our shadows,/ saving us from hidden wrongs./ Let our daily lives, O Lord,/ tell your glory, tell your glory.'

Leach's tidy versifications proliferate in Banquet, each of them representing the core message of the psalms in accessible yet thoughtful ways. His creative take on some oft-used psalms stands out as his greatest contribution. In some he flips the question so that our ears hear it differently. Psalm 22 reads, 'My God, you have forsaken me, but why?' and Psalm 137 asks the captors rather than the captives, 'Have you no songs, O Babylon?' In Psalm 81, Leach introduces the refrain, 'Clover, thistle, orange blossom,' ruminating on the types of flowers that might sweeten the 'honey from the rock.' Psalm 91 picks up on the image of wings, as the psalmist speaks to the young birds hiding therein: 'Little birds, little birds, have no fear. Your God is kind, your God is fierce, and shelters you beneath strong wings.'

… Leach's collections offer creative, fresh, and enriching explorations of the psalms, and they also provide devotional aids for deeper reflection on the psalms' place in our complex, twenty-first-century world."

Kiran Young Wimberly in The Hymn, Winter 2020

This book of metrical psalm paraphrases and psalm-based hymns comes from Leach's pen with his two decades experience of crafting hymns, songs, and spiritual songs. These poems are for congregations or choirs, and the collection is a great resource for church musicians and composers trying to expand the church's song. 146 texts are included, based on 99 different psalms, including 92 of the 105 psalms used in the Revised Common Lectionary.


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