All Thy Works Shall Praise Thy Name
I have been in Nashville this week for the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Nashville is a nice city but I have to admit that I don’t really enjoy staying in “concrete jungles” where so much of the natural world I love is missing. Still, I’ve enjoyed being here, getting to see a lot of people I know and care for, and participating in some wonderful worship services.
One of the things I’ve been reminded of in our worship services here is how many hymns and praise songs make reference to God as Creator or to Creation itself. A few days ago we were singing the classic hymn by Reginald Heber,“Holy! Holy! Holy!”, and on the screen I saw the words “All thy works shall praise thy name, in earth and sky and sea. Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and Mighty, God in three persons, blessed Trinity.” Other songs we have sung have echoed the call for all of Creation to join in offering praise and worship to God, the “Creator of heaven and earth.”
Recently I started reading Machael Abbate’s book Gardening Eden. Here he says “In His unfathomable wisdom, God designed everything in the universe to all work together in immeasurable complexity so that it could relentlessly glorify Him. As odd as it may sound, it is not just humans that are expected to recognize God’s power, wisdom, and love. Everything He created is intended to join in the chorus.”
The Scriptures certainly give evidence that all of Creation is meant to give God praise. Psalm 145:21 says “Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.” Elsewhere the Psalmist wrote, “Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it: let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them.” (Ps. 96:11). The prophet Isaiah says “The mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and the trees of the field will clap their hands.” (55:12) God told Job that at Creation’s dawn “the morning stars sang together” (38:7) and when the Pharisees sought to silence people giving Jesus praise as he entered Jerusalem he told them “I tell you, if my followers didn’t say these things, then the stones would cry out!” (Luke 19:40)
It would seem that the testimony of both the authors of Scripture and the hymns of our faith understood that all of Creation is meant to join in together offering God praise. What a shame it will be if we humans who were created in the image of God, and have the capacity to experience communion with Him like no other part of His Creation, fail to give Him the praise He deserves! Apparently the rest of Creation is doing its part. Are we?
(I took the two pictures above on my trip to Hawaii this past April.)