O Lord, we are always in your presence
Source: Singing the Faith: 33
Words: Philip Jakob
Music: Philip Jakob
Ideas for use
Philip Jakob’s own comments below suggest this piece’s aptness as a sung response to psalm verses. You might wish to have individuals reading appropriate psalm verses, either from the front or from within the body of the congregation. A worship or music leader can then lead the repeat of the sung response.
“O Lord we are always in your presence” will work well as a response in other contexts also, for example following the distribution of the bread and wine in communion; or as a sung (or spoken) response during prayers for others.
As preparation for writing prayers for others, or as the basis for a small group discussion, consider this question:
- In what ways, and where, do we experience God’s presence in our lives? Name and meditate upon the unexpected places and persons in which and in whom we meet God in our everyday lives.
Philip Jakob writes:
“I wrote this piece initially after supporting a conference with the late Gerry Hughes SJ. The liturgical composer and publisher Stephen Dean suggested I incorporate it into a larger piece with verses from the psalms. So for the first National Catholic Choirs Festival in Southwark Cathedral the whole piece got an airing as a Communion Psalm.
“The last verse of the larger work uses an SATB setting of the plainsong melody ‘Adoro te devote’. At its first ‘performance’ the organist forgot about the last verse and so I had to wait for the coach journey back to Sheffield when the choir from Hallam Diocese gave a moving (pun!) performance somewhere on the M1. Decani Music published the whole thing but it is this refrain which seems most popular.”
Philip Jakob was born in Surrey, England. Active in liturgical music since 1973, he taught music in St Ignatius College (Jesuits) London before taking up the post of Director of Music for the Cathedral and Diocese of Hallam (South Yorkshire) in 1994. In 2014 Philip was appointed Director of Music at St Lawrence Catholic Church, Tampa, Florida. A published composer and workshop leader, Philip is also a member of the Iona Community.