As I spend time outside in this beautiful fall weather I’m reminded of some lines from one of my favorite hymns, All Creatures of Our God and King, penned by St. Francis of Assisi:
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!
St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) was a beloved preacher who loved animals and rejoiced in all nature. Near the end of his life he began having periods of temporary blindness. When he realized he would not live much longer, he wrote this hymn before his death, declaring once more his love for all of God’s creations and giving praise to the Creator. As we thank our Father and His Son at Thanksgiving for the abundance we enjoy, we often sing this hymn in gratitude for the beauty of His creations.
God’s creations can teach us several things about Him. First, that God exists. Who has not contemplated the wonder of the universe, looking at a star-filled sky late at night or gazing in awe at the intricacies of a beautiful maple leaf? Alma 30:44 states “All things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.”
Second, that God is all powerful. We can experience His power when we watch a storm roll in from the horizon or stand at the base of a great waterfall. The scriptures testify of the Savior’s power over nature. “And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.But the men marveled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!” (Matt 8:24-27
Thou rushing wind that art so strong,
Ye clouds that sail in heaven along,
Thou rising morn, in praise rejoice;
Ye light of evening, find a voice,
Alleluia! Oh praise Him! Alleluia!
Third, that God loves His children. We can see His love for us in everything around us. He created this beautiful world for us. We can say as David did, “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” (Psalm 8:3-4)
We are blessed to live in a place where we see nature’s beauty in every season of the year. As Thanksgiving approaches and we review our blessings and thank the Creator, let us give thanks for the natural beauty that surrounds us every day. Job put it well: “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.” (Job 12:7-9)
Dear mother earth, who day by day
Unfoldest blessings on our way,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
The flowers and fruits that in thee grow,
Let them His glory also show.
O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Kristine Gifford is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.