All Creatures of Our God and King
Sunday - March 13th
Scripture to Read Today: Psalm 148:1-14
Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.
One of the most famous figures of church history, St. Francis of Assisi, wrote the original lyrics to the hymn "All Creatures of Our God and King" in his "Canticle of the Sun" poem. He wrote the poem based on Psalm 148 in 1225 AD. The words penned by St. Francis of Assisi were incorporated in several other poems and hymns over the centuries. However, it wasn't until the late nineteenth or early twentieth century that the words would be married to the song so familiar to so many today.
The rector of a Church of England parish near Leeds, William Draper, translated the lines into English. The words of the Canticle were modified and set to a melody by Draper. It's unclear when Draper penned the hymn, but it was somewhere between 1899 and 1919. Draper wrote it as part of the Easter celebrations for his church's children.
The hymn was later published in 1919 in the Public School Hymn Book. The great song of praise can now be found in 179 hymnals. After "Father, We Praise Thee," penned in 580 AD, St Francis' words are among the earliest hymns still in use today.
I remember singing this song as a boy. We sang it in my fourth-grade class in the Christian school I attended at the time. The teacher, Mrs. Kroon, loved it. But, her students did not love it that much. The song had some grand themes that were hard for children to grasp. Also, her voice was so high and, at times, squeaky; we had a hard time singing much with her on any song.
As I got older, "All Creatures of Our God and King" took on new meaning for me. Both the lyrics and the melody seemed to invite me into the praise first expressed in Psalm 148. That psalm calls for all creation to worship and praise the Creator.
This weekend as we gather to exalt our Lord, we lift the Creator of everything. He, and He alone, deserves the praise of all of us!
Let all creatures of our God and King praise Him!