Anthem Notes: All Creatures of Our God and King |

About 800 years ago, St. Francis of Assisi wrote a hymn that personified the elements of creation with family gender terms: He referred to the Sun, wind, and fire as “our brothers.”

The moon and the water, he called them “our sisters”. And he revered the earth as our “Our Mother, our dear Mother”.

Now that’s weird but, in his defense, some hymnologists and church historians have suggested that these phrases were only used, symbolically, to praise the Lord in the way the psalmist personified creation in Psalm 145 which said, “All your works shall praise you, O Lord, and your saints shall bless you. They will speak of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your power.

That may be true, but in the biographical accounts we have of St. Francis there are good reasons to be skeptical. In fact, if a strict translation of this poem were the actual text of the song, we would not sing it today because the words of St. Francis involve serious theological issues.

Saint Francis has been canonized as the patron saint of animals and is revered by environmentalists for his love of nature. Thus, his hymn could be interpreted as endorsing all kinds of false doctrinal beliefs such as mysticism, animism, pantheism and other aberrations of non-Christian religions, some of which have crept in and are adopted by some Christian sects even today. today.

Just to be clear, we should, and we see evidence of God’s handiwork in His creation. We marvel at how He operates all things according to His purposes.

But there is an absolute distinction between God and His creation. God is God over all creation; He is not part of it.

I’m not saying that Francis intended or even believed in a pantheistic worldview, but there are many people in our churches today who are willing to read some kind of earth-worshipping theology into his words. . Thus, theologians were right to approach this hymn with caution.

At the beginning of the 20th century, William Henry Draper saved and wrote a free translation of the hymn of Saint Francis. It was originally intended for use as a children’s anthem.

ALL THE CREATURES OF OUR GOD AND KING is a good, doctrinally sound hymn that reads like a paraphrase of Psalm 148 where we see that everything was created by God and everything exists for the praise of His Glory. And, in the last stanza, Draper inserted a doxology that affirms the triune nature of our God.

His hymn, much improved, is the song we sing today. It has appeared in nearly every English hymn for almost a century and is among the most beloved Christian hymns of all time.

About five years ago, Sovereign Grace Music released a new version of the anthem. Three stanzas have been deleted, leaving only the first and last. And then two new ones were added. The third verse is a gospel-centered verse about Christ’s atoning work, and the last verse affirms our hope; Jesus is coming back.

Here are the new lyrics:

(3) All the redeemed washed by his blood,

Come and rejoice in his great love.

O praise him! Alleluia!

Christ conquered all sin.

Cast all your burdens on Him now.

O praise him! O praise him!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

(4) He will return in power to rule.

Heaven and earth will join to say,

O praise him! Alleluia!

So who will fall to their knees?

All the creatures of our God and King.

O praise Him! O praise him!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

In my opinion, this new version is a great improvement that turns a good hymn into an excellent hymn and still maintains a respectful attitude towards the decrees of Psalm 148:13 “Let (all creation) praise the name of the Lord, For his name alone is exalted; His glory is above earth and heaven.

Ralph M. Petersen and his wife, Kathy, are the owners of the OLDE TOWNE EMPORIUM at 212 E. Main St. in Rogersville. Comments are welcome. You can contact him at [email protected] or by phone at (951) 321 9235.

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