Our opening hymn on this first Communion Sunday of 2018 is “All Creatures of Our God and King,” the tune and words of which are very familiar to us. Click here for a roof-raising rendition of choir, descants, orchestra, organ and congregation. Wow! Now THAT is a hymn-sing!
The emotionally up-swelling tune was by Ralph Vaughan Williams who also composed “For All the Saints” and “God Be With You Till We Meet Again,” to name but a few.
Yet, it’s the original poem (later translated by Draper into the lyrics we know so well) which has endured for so many centuries. And the original author? None other than Francis of Assisi (1182-1226), the year before his death.
The U.S. Humane Society says this of St. Francis: “Francis’ deep love of God overflowed into love for all God’s creatures—expressed not only in his tender care of lepers and his (unsuccessful) attempt to negotiate peace between Muslims and Christians during the fifth Crusade, but also in his prayers of thanksgiving for creation, his sermons preached to animals, and his insistence that all creatures are brothers and sisters under God. ”
The final verse really sums up the call to sing our praises to God for the totality of His creation, and our role in caring for it:
Let all things their Creator bless
and worship Him in humbleness,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,
and praise the Spirit, Three in One:
O praise Him, O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!