[NOTE: Today's post continues our Thursday hymn reflections, which are simple thoughts on songs suggested by our readers. If you would like to add your favorites--no more than three--to our list, please leave a comment. We'll get to it eventually!]
This hymn, usually containing three verses, is part of a longer poem by Maltie Babcock. The original poem contained 16 stanzas and each began with the title phrase. Cyber Hymnal gives this brief introduction to the song:
While a pastor in Lockport, New York, Babcock liked to hike in an area called “the escarpment,” an ancient upthrust ledge near Lockport. It has a marvelous view of farms, orchards, and Lake Ontario, about 15 miles distant. It is said those walks in the woods inspired these lyrics. The title recalls an expression Babcock used when starting a walk: “I’m going out to see my Father’s world.”
When an atheist looks at the world around, all that is seen is a random collection of molecules with no purpose. However, when Christians sing “This is My Father’s World” they are loudly proclaiming that God made all things, and there is purpose to it all.
My favorite line in the song is: “This is my Father’s world/I rest me in the thought/of rocks and trees of skies and seas;/His hands the wonders wrought.” The part about resting is a great thought. When we see the design of the universe and all that God has done, it can sometimes boggle the mind. At other times, thought, it can cause our minds to slow down and rest because He is in control of it all.
Other famous lines from the song show that nature is crying out that God exists. One line in particular shows this in these words: “The morning light, the lily white,/Declare their Maker’s praise.” We need to remember that our world is declaring that God is, and that He is the Creator of all we see!
It is interesting that the song, as usually written in books, speaks specifically about nature, but there were other original verses that took another step. The song originally also spoke about Jesus being from God. One verse that is not usually in books contains these words:
This is my Father’s world, dreaming, I see His face.
I ope my eyes, and in glad surprise cry, “The Lord is in this place.”
This is my Father’s world, from the shining courts above,
The Beloved One, His Only Son,
Came—a pledge of deathless love.
While the wording may be a bit old, the message is still powerful: nature is not the only thing that points to our Father in heaven.
And, as one final reflection, remember that the song does not just talk about “Someone” who created the world. It teaches that “My Father” created it all. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, but He is still our Father, and we need to speak of Him in that way.
Enjoy this clip of a choir arrangement of the tune: