God Is My Shelter (Kenneth Downie)
The message of the music is that God is our shelter. I have drawn inspiration from three hymns that refer to this idea:
- “Rock of Ages”, by Augustus Toplady, wedded to the tune “Wells”, by Dmitri Bortniansky;
- “He Hideth My Soul”, by Fanny Crosby, to the tune of the same name by William Kirkpatrick;
- “Will Your Anchor Hold?” by Priscilla Owens, music by William Kirkpatrick.
Phrases like fastened to the rock which cannot move, He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock, and Rock of ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee are all suggestive of a desperate need to know that God is available to protect us in the face of life’s difficulties.
The music was commissioned by Bandmaster Derek Lance and the New York Staff Band, for whom the Toplady hymn has great significance. It has been sung by the band chorus for many years, to great effect.