All Creatures of Our God and King

Composer St. Francis of Assisi – 1225

All creatures

All creatures of our God and King
Lift up your voice and with us sing,
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thou burning sun with golden beam,
Thou silver moon with softer gleam!

O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thou rushing wind that art so strong
Ye clouds that sail in Heaven along,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou rising moon, in praise rejoice,
Ye lights of evening, find a voice!

Thou flowing water, pure and clear,
Make music for thy Lord to hear,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou fire so masterful and bright,
That givest man both warmth and light.

Dear mother earth, who day by day
Unfoldest blessings on our way,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
The flowers and fruits that in thee grow,
Let them His glory also show.

And all ye men of tender heart,|
Forgiving others, take your part,
O sing ye! Alleluia!
Ye who long pain and sorrow bear,
Praise God and on Him cast your care!

And thou most kind and gentle Death,
Waiting to hush our latest breath,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou leadest home the child of God,
And Christ our Lord the way hath trod.

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!

Our youngest daughter is at the stage when she loves cartoons and comedy. Recently due to her demands were forced to watch Mr. Bean the time he went to church and found himself singing this hymn. I therefore, got interested to research about this hymn and what an amazing discovery I have found. Thanks to Nomsa and Gloria.

Here is one of the oldest hymns and one that comes from the Catholic background. The hymn has been published in may protestant hymnbooks. It is a hymn with a long history and actually was originally published hundreds of years after the author’s death. The lyrics of this hymn were written by Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone – more commonly known as St. Francis of Assisi. He was born around the year 1181 and was the son of a wealthy merchant in Assisi. In 1204, he had a vision and soon he decided to live in poverty and become a preacher. He developed a following which was endorsed by the Roman Catholic pope in 1210 and became known as the Franciscan order. He was known to have said – “If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.” Later in his life, he founded an order for older women as well as the Third Order of Brothers and Sisters of Penance. There are around sixty hymns that it is believed that he wrote and he is also known as the first saint known to have received the stigmata (which he received in 1224 and are commonly known as the wounds of Christ’s Passion.) He died in October 1226 and was granted sainthood in 1228. In the Roman Catholic Tradition, he is known as the patron saint of animals and the environment and has a feast day that is celebrated on October 4th every year.

Originally written in Italian and named Cantico di fratre sole (Song of Brother Sun), this hymn was written shortly before his death and reflects his meditations on Psalm 145. It was published almost 400 years later with music called Geistliche Kirchengeange written by Koln in 1623 (in German). Harmony for these lyrics to the tune Lasst Uns Erfreuen was later written by Ralph Vaughan Williams and published in the English Hymnal in 1906 and was # 519.

It was first trans­lat­ed into the English language by William Henry Draper and his version has remained the most popular version to this date. Born in 1855 in Kenilworth, England, he was educated at Keble College in Oxford and was later a curate and a vicar. He translated the song into English in 1910 for a children’s festival in England and his version first appeared in a hymn book in 1919. In his lifetime he wrote about sixty hymns, but this song was his only translation. William Draper died in 1933.

St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226) is one of Christendom’s most beloved historical figures. He is remembered as a gentle and compassionate man who was a lover of nature and animals; and as a lover of the Truth that teaches believers to respect not just their fellow humans, but all of God’s creatures.

The humble, devout monk would often be found praying wherever there were trees, fields, open sky, and his friends the animals. He believed that to love God was to love all His creatures, and that, “If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”

Brother Francis loved music. He encouraged singing in his monastery and wrote more than 60 hymns for just that purpose. He believed the words of Psalms 19:1-4, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun.”

Written in 1225, the words of All Creatures of Our God and King still ring true with believers around the world who share Brother Francis’ heart.

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