All Creatures of Our God and King
Lyrics by St. Francis of Assisi
Hymn 455 in our Hymnal
I chose to share thoughts on All Creatures of Our God and King for two reasons. First, we sing this song in both services. We sing the hymn in the classical service, and we sing the adaptation by David Crowder in the contemporary service. Second, this song is one of my favorite hymns, and it is a song that translates well into contemporary worship music.
The lyrics of All Creatures were originally in a poem by St. Francis of Assisi in 1225. Francis is considered the patron saint of Italy, San Francisco, CA, and the environment. The latter is evident in this song. In the spirit of Psalm 148, which I encourage you to read, Francis calls upon God’s creation to praise its Creator.
Do you ever consider other parts of creation praising God? If you are like me, you usually think of humanity alone praising God. This song challenges us to see beyond that. It opens up to us the mystery and grandeur of God’s creation. It’s not just God and me. It’s not just you, some friends, God, and me. This song reminds us that it’s not even merely humanity and God.
What does it mean for another part of creation to praise God? If St. Francis is right, creation praises God simply by being. “Thou burning sun with golden beam, Thou silver moon with softer gleam;” “Thou rushing wind that art so strong, Ye clouds that sail in Heaven along;” “Thou flowing water, pure and clear, Make music for thy Lord to hear.” These parts of creation praise God bydoing what they were created to do.
What are you created to do?
We are all specially created, and we all have something special to do to honor our Creator. God has plans and purposes for you individually. But I think this is true for each of us: we were created to worship God. All of us. Individually, corporately, continually. As we continue through the Lenten season toward Easter with our series on worship, ask God to continue to build you and your worshiping life. Pray for the Holy Spirit to move your heart constantly to worship God. It is what you were created to do. - Drew Hanson
When we sing worship music, no matter the style, we are given the opportunity to sing Scripture; the inspired words of God. Additionally, one of the beautiful gifts in any type of worship music is that it provides us a way to interact with Scripture artistically. It provides us a way to learn and memorize Scripture in a creative way and embed those words in our everyday speech and thoughts. It provides us a way to sing back to God the words He wrote for us. Your Love is Strong is a great example.
Jon Foreman's "Your Love Is Strong"
Scripture beautifully frames this song. Lyrics and music retranslate Bible passages so that we learn Scripture through song. Below is a side-by-side comparison of the lyrics along with the passages of Scripture that inspired those lyrics. I invite you to listen to this song several times. Listen to it with an open Bible, and turn to the passages referenced in the lyrics. Note the changes the artist made. Note the significance of the passages in your life as you listen and sing. Allow these lyrics, these Bible passages, to wash over you and remind you of God’s love for you. At church this week, remember that you are joining other voices in singing Scripture.
Heavenly Father, You always amaze me
Let Your kingdom come in my world and in my life
Give me the food I need
To live through today
And forgive me as I forgive
The people that wrong me
Lead me far from temptation
Deliver me from the evil one
READ: Matthew 6:9-13
I look out the window
The birds are composing
Not a note is out of tune
Or out of place
I walk to the meadow
And stare at the flowers
Better dressed than any girl
On her wedding day
So why should I worry?
Why do I freak out?
God knows what I need
You know what I need
READ: Matthew 6:26-31
The Kingdom of the Heavens
Is now advancing
Invade my heart
Invade this broken town
The Kingdom of the Heavens
Is buried treasure
Would you sell yourself
To buy the one you've found?
READ: Matthew 13:44
Two things You told me
That You are strong
And You love me
Yes, You love me
READ: Psalm 62:11-12a
This lent, we have decided to focus upon musical worship. When we worship God, we essentially fast from our own tendencies to self-absorption, control, fear, anxiety, and an assortment of other problems of focus. Instead of focusing upon ourselves, we rightly focus on God.
For Lenten we offer a number of devotionals centered upon music. These devotionals are meant to invite you into moments of worship throughout your week.
To help you practice the discipline of worship, we have made some of the music from our two worship services available as playlists on Spotify on the HOME page. Simply click on the words or photo to be directed to the site to setup your new Spotify account. Spotify is a free website.
- by Drew Hanson
Lent is a season of the church life where we prepare our hearts for Easter by being aware of our need for redemption. Traditionally, Lent has been a time of fasting. A choice to deprive one’s life of something to remind us of our dependence upon God alone.
This lent, we at Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church have decided to focus upon musical worship. When we worship God, we essentially fast from our own tendencies to self-absorption, control, fear, anxiety, and an assortment of other problems of focus. Instead of focusing upon ourselves, we rightly focus on God.
So this Lent, we offer a number of devotionals centered upon music. These devotionals are meant to invite you into moments of worship throughout your week.
I can remember the point in my life where worship music transitioned from church into my car. Shortly after college I was working at a bank in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. The grind of my commute, my new lifestyle of “work-all-day-every-day” was different from my “wake-up-when-you-want, study-when-you-want” college lifestyle. It was a bit of a shock to me. I soon found that I was getting to work each morning in less than a good mood.
One morning, I realized that the radio personalities I was listening to on my commute weren’t helping my attitude. So I turned the radio to a local Christian music station. I believe I would have called the Christian music at the time “a bit cheesy.” But I was desperate for as much positive to be poured into me as I could get.
Before long, I found my mind and heart turning to God’s goodness and grace. My morning commute became a time of worship. This practice not only transformed my commute but affected the rest of my day.
Today, the songs have changed but the practice is the same. I am blessed by the gift of music to help remind me that I am defined by the God who has called me, saved me, and sent me into my every day. Each day, he does so with singing!
We’ve created two Spotify lists with some of the music we use during our two worship services. Click on the link below to listen!