Growing up in the church I have heard dozens if not hundreds of Christian songs, whether they be found in the hymnal; Holy Bible; or radio. One of my favorite songs ever is a church hymn entitled This Is My Father’s World.
A couple of months ago, I went out to Cheatham Dam to camp out with my parents and church family. Yes, despite how much time I spend in the cave that is my room, I do like going outside every now and then. More importantly, I love to camp. Our numbers weren’t quite as good as I was hoping, but the environment took my mind right off of that. In the morning, after emerging from our tent, I was mesmerized by morning fog hovering on the Cumberland River; fish popping their heads to the surface and disappearing down below; the singing of the wind through the trees; birds chiming in upon tree branches, harmonizing with the wind’s song; and the toasty camp fire popping on the wood. As I beheld the scene, I thought of the first stanza of This Is My Father’s World:
“This is my Father’s world/And to my listening ears/ All nature sings, and round me rings/ The music of the spheres./ This is my Father’s world:/ I rest me in the thought/ Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;/ His hand the wonders wrought.”
The originator of the hymn was minister Maltbie D. Babcock(1858-1901). Badcock was a poet and a lover of nature (“Hymn Story, This Is My Father’s World.”) During his pastoral days in Lockport, New York, Babcock would go on nature walks on an ancient upthrust on Lockport called “the escarpment”. On those walks he gazed upon the beauty of Lake Ontario, farms, and orchards (“This Is My Father’s World”). Before heading out on those hikes, he would say “I’m going out to see my Father’s world”(This Is My Father’s World”). His long walks inspired him to write a poem which comprised of “sixteen verses of four lines each”(“”This Is My Father’s World”: The History and Lyrics”). After his death in 1901, his poem was transformed into a hymn by Franklin L. Sheppard, who chose three verses of the poem and put them to music (“”This Is My Father’s World”: The History and Lyrics”).
I find myself singing this particular song often- during car rides, in church, or as I scrub dishes and clean off trays in my workplace. From the verses to the music, I know it all by heart. If you were to ask me to sing any other hymn from memory the most you could get out of me is one stanza, and the rest would be humming. Why out of all the hymns I’ve heard is this one ingrained in my mind like the alphabet, pledge of allegiance, my seven digits, and my social security?
Maybe just maybe I’m supposed to have this song in my brain. Maybe God wants me to know that no matter how chaotic the world may seem at times with all the heart ache and devastation, that it is still very much His world. You can see God’s hand in every living thing, from the most ancient tree to the insects that creep on flowers. What song holds a special meaning to you, and why?
“This Is My Father’s World.” This Is My Father’s World. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2017.
“”This Is My Father’s World”: The History and Lyrics.” “This Is My Father’s World”: The History and Lyrics. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2017.
“Hymn Story, This Is My Father’s World.” Sermon Writer. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2017.