It Is Right

Note: The sample below left contains only the first two verses. Verse 3 has a different melody which did not fit in this sample format. Downloadable versions found below right include all three verses.

Music by Ron Klusmeier
Words by Walter Farquharson

Lyrics as Poetry

It is right, it is good
that we give God thanks,
that we give God thanks!
It is right, it is good
that we give God thanks,
that we give God thanks!

God our creator, God our redeemer,
God our sustainer, God our life.

It is right, it is good
that we give God thanks,
that we give God thanks!
It is right, it is good
that we give God thanks,
that we give God thanks!

Holy, Holy, Holy.
Holy, Holy, Holy one.
Fill us for serving,
Holy one.

We are created in God’s likeness,
We are made for God.
We are created as God’s family,
a unity of healing love.
Until God fills us, we remain unfilled.
Fill us with your being.
Fill us with your love.

It is right, it is good
that we give God thanks,
that we give God thanks!
It is right, it is good
that we give God thanks,
that we give God thanks!

Words by
Walter FarquharsonCopyright © 1979 by Walter Farquharson
Administered by Hope Publishing Company
Carol Stream, Illinois • USA

Comments About Song


One of the great communion prayers of the church begins with the words, “It is right and good that we give God thanks.”

The less formal table gatherings common in United churches today seldom uses such language. The emphasis is more upon the family and the sharing we do and are called to do.

One of the oldest, and most universal names for the Communion service is The Eucharist, The Thanksgiving.

We give thanks for creation and the gifts of creation. We give thanks for deliverance from tyranny and slavery. We give thanks for Jesus, the Word of God amongst us. We give thanks for the church, the community that aspires to live out the healing, welcoming, empowering work we have been called to be part of.

This hymn is unapologetically trinitarian – not trinitarian in the sense of proclaiming a doctrine cast in the language of speculative theology or philosophy but trinitarian in the language of lived experience. It is the language of poetry, poetry that dances, connecting, separating and connecting again.

I have written about this dancing language in
An Audacious Invitation. In discussing Jesus’ prayer (page 188-189). According to John this is the prayer Jesus shared with his disciples at what would be their last meal together before his death on the cross. We see the movement back and forth, involving the mind and intention of God, the ministry of Jesus, the present and future ministry of those who live “in the Spirit”.

(Reader, please note that what follows through almost to the end of this reflection is taken directly from An Audacious Invitation. The portion in italics is written by my writing partner, Jeff Cook, co-author of An Audacious Invitation. Throughout the book we move back and forth between his voice and mine.)

What we see in Jesus is all there is to see. Jesus doesn’t change the face of God, the face of God is seen in Jesus. The Spirit working in the disciples, and in the world, shows that same face. This language is the language of poetry. What is described is alive and flowing, an intimate energy that accepts, heals, blesses. This energy is God-love, flesh-taking love. The song sung is a love song. Those who sing the love song will show the face of God. They will hear with joy the echoes of that love song all around them and in the most unexpected places. Their joy will be complete.

In a sudden move into a more exalted language consistent with high liturgical prayer, Jesus looked upward to heaven giving thanks to God. This Eucharistic moment capsulizes his life lived as sacrament. There is no mention of bread and wine but the community has been at table together. Jesus’ life is broken and poured out for those he has loved, those to whom and for whom he has come. He is Cana’s wine. He is bread of life, the bread-sharer of the Way. Jesus gathered the people in and now sends them out as emissaries of the love of God to announce that, with unequivocal welcome, the door opening into the house of God is open wide.

(Jesus moves from teaching into prayer – into conversation with God. He is always aware of God’s presence. Even there, in a room around a table, he has a sense of being glorified. Towel and basin, bread and wine…God’s glory is conveyed here and now in and through the this and that’s of daily living and experience.)

The language and style of Jesus’ prayer echoes prayers in use by the faith community at the time Gospelwriter was choosing what to include in his writing. Jesus is cited referring to himself in the third person and using the title Christ in conjunction with his given name. Yet the language of the prayer remains essentially intimate. It folds back and forth upon itself, reiterating the unity of the believers with him, with the Father, with each other. Love, essence of God’s being, is the motivator of mission and the source of healing, truth and community. The glory of God is the glory of love that serves, seeing those served as worthy of love, even of one’s life being poured out for their sake. This Love does not measure the cost of loving.

When this good news takes hold of us we are set upon a journey where we will see and honour those we encounter along the way. We come to know others as worthy of our love, by the grace of God and because of their essential humanity. There can no longer be indifference to the suffering of a sister or brother. This essential message connects directly with a passage from Matthew’s Gospel. In what is often described as Jesus’ parable of the last judgment, we hear Jesus say that blessing is offered those who fed him when he was hungry while the sentence of rejection falls on those who refused him food. According to that parable, those who offered food will ask when that happened. Those who refused to give food will ask the same question. To both enquiries the response will be, “What was done to one deemed least important in the human family was done to me. It was me who was hungry. I was the one who was ill-clothed, who was homeless, who was sick, who was in prison.” This ethic catapults believers from any sense of virtuous giving of charity into a world that challenges us to see all others as those in whom the essence of God is present. Actions change because all perspectives have changed.

Without question, a distant-on-the-throne-in-heaven God is easier to deal with. Any god who loves us because we are successful and already blessed, one anxious to bless us some more if we just name our heart’s desire, is much easier to vote for.

Gospelwriter insists we understand that in the upside down world of Jesus, all understanding of glory changes. In prayer, Jesus affirms, “I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.” While it is easy for our old world minds to imagine some switch over to thrones, trumpets and techno-pyric displays, Jesus has equated glory with love. God’s glory is God’s love. God does not become love. God is love, and there is for Jesus no other glory than the glory of love.

Now, leaving the material taken from
An Audacious Invitation, and returning to the hymn, we are reminded that the restlessness that characterizes so much of human existence is a hungering and thirsting after unity with God. As Augustine said so many centuries ago, “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee, O God.”

Living in gratitude is worship. It is worship that frees and heals us. It moves us from misguided assumptions of ownership and power over creation and over others, to a place of mutual and respectful community within the human family, with “all things now living”, and with the One who is creator, redeemer, sustainer, the one who is our life.

by Walter Farquharson and Jeff Cook

An Audacious Invitation
(A compelling reflection
on the Gospel
according to John)
is available from:
Walter Farquharson
Box 126
Saltcoats, SK   S0A 3R0   Canada
[email protected]

                                                    Audio Sample

Refrain • Verse 1 • Refrain
played on piano.

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Scripture References

  • Genesis 1:31 - 2:3
  • Psalm 34:1-10
  • Psalm 92:1-4
  • Psalm 107:1-3
  • Psalm 136:1-9
  • Psalm 136:23-26
  • Psalm 147
  • Luke 24:13-25
  • John 13:1-15
  • John 15:8-12
  • John 17
  • John 21:1-15
  • 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
  • Colossians 3:12-17
  • Revelation 4
  • Revelation 5

Season, Theme
or Subject

  • Communion
  • Eucharist
  • God∶ nature of
  • Lent
  • Praise
  • Thanksgiving∶  offering thanks
  • Trinity

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The Introduction begins with the pickup notes to Measure 5 and ends with Measure 9.

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