I have so many favorite hymns — too numerous to mention really, but if pressed I would have to say that my all-time favorite has to be the hymn All Creatures of Our God and King. The words combined with the music are heavenly. The tone seems to express a desire for man and nature to be one. The third verse speaks of the flowing water which brings cleansing and healing. I like to think of that clear water as being a symbol of Christ, the Living Water.
My first attempt at hymn arranging began with this very piece over 30 years ago. Once finished, I never really felt like I did it justice so I hid it away and rarely looked it. Just the other day I decided to dust it off and give it another chance. I beefed it up with a one page intro. At the end I added a few more pages including a few lines of Ralph (pronounced Rafe) Vaughan Williams’ work. His rich harmonies flow like a river and move in ways that reach deep in my soul.
Even now I still think my arrangement isn’t as good as I would like, but if it brings to mind the sentiment conveyed by St. Francis of Assisi centuries ago, then I guess it wasn't in vain.
All creatures of our God and King,
Lift up your voice and with us sing,
Thou burning sun with golden beam,
Thou silver moon with softer gleam,
Alleluia! Oh, praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou rushing wind that art so strong,
Ye clouds that sail in heav’n along,
Thou rising morn, in praise rejoice;
Ye light of evening, find a voice,
Thou flowing water, pure and clear,
Make music for thy Lord to hear,
Thou fire so masterful and bright,
That gives to man both warmth and light,
Dear Mother Earth, who day by day
Unfoldest blessings on our way,
The flow’rs and fruits that in thee grow,
Let them his glory also show,
*Photo credit: Echo Studios