Linda Lee Johnson, author of the lyrics of this hymn (along with David who wrote Psalm 8) was born in Seattle, Washington. She has lived on the West Coast most of her life.
As of 2001, she lived in Castro Valley, California, with her husband Bruce, superintendent of Redwood Christian Schools. I would guess that they are retired now.
She has two grown children and three grandchildren. She began writing lyrics in 1978, working primarily with composer Tom Fettke (who also wrote the music to this song.)
I found a story by Tom Fettke on the writing of this song. Linda Lee Johnson was a member of the choir in a church where he was Minister of Music. He had observed potential in her because of a Sunday School program she developed earlier and asked her to put the words of Psalm 8 (his favorite) into singable form. She didn’t share his confidence in her, but took up the challenge and came through with what he considered the mostly finalized lyrics, after a couple of weeks!
He had some struggles finishing the music, but took some stylistic inspiration from the piece, Moses by Ken Medema that helped him complete it after it had been resting a drawer for awhile. After this piece, they collaborated on a number of choral pieces.
Be sure to listen to the arrangement sung on YouTube. It is different from most because it sung by an all men’s group, but I found it to be most helpful because it helped me focus on the words, not the instruments.
Can’t you picture David, the Psalmist, sitting out watching sheep, writing these words?
When I gaze into the night sky,
And see the work of Your fingers.
The moon and stars suspended in space.
But what is man that You are mindful of him?
You have given man a crown of glory and honor.
And have made him a little lower than the angels.
You have put him in charge of all creation;
The beasts of the field, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea.
But what is man, oh, what is man
That You are mindful of him?
O Lord, our God the majesty and glory of Your name
Transcends the earth and fills the heavens.
O Lord, our God little children praise Him perfectly.
And so would we, and so would we.
Alleluia, Alleluia. The majesty and glory of Your name!
words by Linda Lee Johnson, Psalm 8
music by Tom Fettke