Tune: Royal Oak
“Who can speak of the mighty deeds of the Lord, Or can show forth all His praise?” Psalm 106:2 (NASV)
All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small.
All things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all.
There are several reasons why this hymn is one of my favorites.
First, this is one of the first anthems, though not set to this particular tune that I sang as a member of a children’s choir.
Second, those four phrases served as titles of a series of novels and the second phrase served as the title of a television series that I enjoyed tremendously. James Herriot was the author of these books about a country veterinarian serving in Yorkshire, England, before and after World War II.
Third, these words have been set to a contemporary anthem by English composer John Rutter. His simple anthem entitled All Things Bright and Beautiful has a playfulness about it that makes it quite appealing.
Last, I love the story behind the writing of this hymn. Mrs. Cecil Frances Alexander was endeavoring to teach the Apostles’ Creed to her Sunday school class. She wanted to convert the creedal phrases into songs for children to help them learn the truths of the Christian faith. The words, “I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth” inspired her to write All Things Bright and Beautiful. She based this song on Genesis 1:31 “Then God saw everything that He had made and indeed it was very good.”
The hymn speaks of aspects of creation that genuinely delight me: flowers, birds, mountains, rivers, sunset, morning light, and ripe fruits in the garden. It is wonderful to experience these good gifts of God’s creation. The final verse reminds us that appreciating these good gifts will result in our proclaiming the mighty acts of God to others.
God gave us eyes to see them, and lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty, who has made all things well.
Creator God, we thank You for the beauty and wonder of Your creation. We are grateful for persons who have been inspired to write simple and beautiful little hymns for children to sing while teaching them important biblical truths. Because many of us have learned them in our youth, they are especially dear to us. Help us always to match our gratitude with our desire to share The Story of all You have done for us. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.