Hymns are Never Sung Alone

Carol Brennan King August 16, 2020 

This morning in church (online) we were led in singing several worship choruses new to me. Then the worship team leader began singing something that wrapped around me like a beloved and worn blanket:

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!

It went on from there for four more stanzas, but I no longer felt like my husband and I were singing alone in our living room. Nor did I feel as though I were part of Hope Fellowship Church singing from our many different homes. It came to me that we were with a chorus of believers singing through history, from what I thought then was the late nineteenth century, based on the language of the hymn.

I was comforted by that thought, that all around the world we who were singing those words sang our parts in an enormous choir praising God. As we sang on, I could envision thousands, perhaps millions of believers, comprising a greater yet choir. We were singing where there is no time in God’s presence, a joyous chorus of voices worshiping Him, praising Him for the very life and hope we have in Him.

After service it was time to finish the chopping of vegetables for dinner, to meld the flavors of God’s artwork: sliced red peppers, cubed zucchini, slivered purple onion, sliced kielbasa sautéed with it all.

The colorful black bean and cannellini salad, again raiding the garden for onions, cucumbers and tomatoes waited marinating in a vinaigrette made with cumin and lime juice for special flavor. Cubed watermelon was dished up and ready to be carried to the table.

selective focus photography of orange and black butterfly

As we sat outside on the deck to eat, we watched the birds flirting, butterflies flitting, and a stray cat wander by. I couldn’t help but be reminded again of the praise hymn from our worship time, the last stanza:

5 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

After dinner, I read the paper and took a nap, but the words of that hymn would not leave me alone. The choir continued to sing.

As we universally do when we want to find something, I took to Google to find the origin of this hymn. Eight hundred years ago, a man born Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone, but nicknamed Francesco (“the Frenchman”) by his father, and who is now known as St. Francis of Assisi penned this hymn among over 100 others.

Again, I remember thinking we were not just singing with a 120-year-old choir but with an 800-year-old choir of believers praising God in song. 

We, who are so very time-conscious, forget God has no such limits. Can you imagine the beauty of that hymn sung by thousands, perhaps millions of worshipers?

I will post all of the words translated from the original to English around the turn of the Twentieth Century. I hope as you read those words, you sing them and think of yourself as part of that great celestial choir.

1 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! 

2 Thou rushing wind that art so strong, 
ye clouds that sail in heav’n along, 
O praise him, alleluia! 
Thou rising morn, in praise rejoice, 
ye lights of evening, find a voice, 
O praise him, O praise him, 
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! 

3 Thou flowing water, pure and clear, 
make music for thy Lord to hear, 
alleluia, alleluia!
Thou fire so masterful and bright, 
that givest man both warmth and light, 
O praise him, O praise him, 
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! 

4 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,
O praise him, O praise him, 
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! 

5 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!


Source: Trinity Psalter Hymnal #248

Photo of sunrise from https://itstimefitnessresults.com/2016/07/04/sunbeams-and-skin-2/

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