Do you ever get discouraged as you read the daily newspaper and listen to the news on the radio or television? If you don't you are fortunate. At times it seems like the world around us is crumbling. And in one sense it is. The news is full of wars, riots, terrorism, economic downturns, storms, violence, congressional gridlock, political correctness, and anti-Christian decisions. Is anybody in charge? For the Christian, the answer to that is simple. Yes. This is our Father's world. He created it and He has a plan for the future. And in that knowledge we can rest no matter what happens around us. Often when I am troubled and concerned I find that a good walk clears my mind and recharges me. Such was probably the case with the author of this week's choice. Maltbie Davenport Babcock, a minister from New York took frequent walks along the Niagara Escarpment to enjoy the overlook's panoramic vista of upstate New York scenery and Lake Ontario. He would tell his wife that he was "going out to see the Father's world". Shortly after his death in 1901, at the age of 42, she published a compilation of Babcock's writings entitled Thoughts for Every-Day Living that contained the poem "My Father's World." The original poem contained sixteen stanzas of four lines each. The poem was set to music by Franklin L. Sheppard, who apparently did not want to call attention to himself and signed using his initials rearranged as "S.F.L." Most sources state that Sheppard adapted the music from a traditional English melody. In this week's hymn, we are reminded of one of the most basic truths, "This is my Father's world." Such simple words, yet how much we need to be reminded of them! In these details - "rocks and trees ... skies and seas", so masterfully created by God, we see a visual reminder that He still holds the world in his hands. As the hymn writer so aptly put it, "O let us not forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet."
(1) 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.
(2) This is my Father's world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker's praise.
This is my Father's world: He shines in all that's fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.
(3) This is my Father's world. O let me ne'er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father's world: the battle is not done:
Jesus Who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav'n be one.
(4) 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.
(5) This is my Father's world, should my heart be ever sad?
The lord is King—let the heavens ring. God reigns—let the earth be glad.
This is my Father's world. Now closer to Heaven bound,
For dear to God is the earth Christ trod.
No place but is holy ground.
(6) This is my Father's world. I walk a desert lone.
In a bush ablaze to my wondering gaze God makes His glory known.
This is my Father's world, a wanderer I may roam
Whate'er my lot, it matters not,
My heart is still at home.
Listen to it being sung here. LISTEN