The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.
Singer/Songwriter Phil Wickham has made a name for himself by composing modern hymns which combine beautiful melodies with rich lyrical content. “You’re Beautiful,” from the 2007 album Cannons, is no exception. Written while he was leading worship at a youth camp, Wickham combined a very hymn-like melody with lyrics expressing the theme of that night’s Bible study, which was the glory of God as revealed in creation. Continue reading
Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord!
For he commanded and they were created.
~ Psalm 148:3-5
Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone, more commonly known as St. Francis of Assisi, was born in 1181 in Assisi, Italy. He was the son of a wealthy cloth merchant, and grew up in a life of affluence. Still, he was known for his charity toward the poor, something for which his father scolded him.
Eventually, after a short career as a soldier (including a year which he spent as a captive), he returned home and began to voluntarily lead a life of poverty. He claimed to have seen a vision of Jesus Christ commanding him to restore the Church, and gave himself over to serving the poor, sick, and lonely. When his father became angry and tried to persuade him (even going so far as beating him) to give up his religious calling and take up the family trade, Francis renounced his father and his inheritance, and became a beggar himself. Continue reading
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
~ Psalm 19:1
Maltbie Babcock was a true Renaissance man. As a gifted athlete, talented musician, and dynamic preacher, it would have been easy for him to achieve acclaim no matter what interests he chose to pursue, yet he never ceased to give God the glory for the fruits of his many talents.
While serving as pastor of a Presbyterian congregation in northwest New York state, Dr. Babcock would frequently go for a run through the beautiful Niagara escarpment to strengthen his body, mind, and spirit. It was during this period that he penned a poem titled This Is My Father’s World, reflecting on God’s sovereignty over every aspect of the world He had created. Continue reading
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice,
and let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!”
Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth.
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!
~ 2 Chronicles 16:31-34
This hymn is the result of another collaboration between Keith & Kristyn Getty and Stuart Townend, the combination which has produced so many great hymns in the last decade. The most distinctive thing about this particular hymn musically is its meter (time signature). We don’t often sing mixed meter songs corporately, as they can be very difficult to pick up in one hearing. In Creation Sings, however, the mixed meter just “works”. Though the time signature in the verses shifts every measure between 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4 (the choruses stay in 3/4), congregations seem to catch on quickly. This is the mark of an extraordinarily well-written hymn for the church!