Bless the Lord, My Soul


Performance Notes:


This text is a paraphrase of key lines from Psalm 103 that speak of God’s mercy and compassion.


Accompany on piano or organ (with the organ, use soft foundation stops on the refrain and an eight-foot flute accompanying the cantor) at a gentle tempo (q = 84). Shape the second phrase dynamically, reaching a peak on the high notes. Or use a guitar, not strumming, but with the more classical finger-picking style.

The verses are best sung by a cantor with a secure yet gentle voice that can convey the gentle compassion of this text. Everyone can accompany the cantor by singing softly (or humming) the music of the refrain.

Enjoy the variety of musical obligatos, and feel free to experiment with different instruments. For example, two violins could play the recorder duo, or a saxophone might play the recorder part.

Here is one possible “map” for utilizing various musical layers with each repetition of the song:

keyboard introduction

keyboard and congregation

keyboard, congregation, and recorder on simple melody

keyboard, congregation, cantor (st. 1), and recorder on simple melody

keyboard, congregation, cantor (st. 2), and recorder duo

keyboard, congregation, and flute duo

keyboard, congregation, cantor (st. 3), and clarinet/recorder duo (Bb and C instruments)

congregation and recorder on simple melody

Ideas for Use

During the distribution of the elements at the Lord’s Supper.

As the thanksgiving to conclude the communion service. (Psalm 103 is historically the Psalm of Thanksgiving after communion.)

Can be especially appropriate during Advent and Lent.


The community at Taizé (in France; is an ecumenical community of brothers who share a common concern for reconciliation between people and God as well as people with one another.

The main composer of music for the community of Taizé was the Paris composer Jacques Berthier (1923-1994), who left a wonderful treasury of short songs for worship. Most of his songs were formed after the ancient psalm tones and call-and-response worship style. Berthier’s musical gems are in worldwide ecumenical use.

Other Resources:

  • Purchase this song in a collection or recording from the Taizé Community and published by GIA Publications, Inc.
  • Visit for more information on this song and additional resources.
  • View and listen to this song in a worship service from Calvin College's Worship Symposium.
Psalm 103:1
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