At a central Wellington Presbyterian Church yesterday we sang the hymn “Almighty Father of all things that be”, but we missed out two verses. I wondered why. The hymn goes:
Almighty Father of all things that be,
our life, our work, we consecrate to thee,
whose heavens declare thy glory from above,
whose earth below is witness to thy love.
For well we know this weary, soiled earth
is yet thine own by right of its new birth,
since that great cross upreared on Calvary
redeemed it from its fault and shame to thee.
Thine still the changeful beauty of the hills,
the purple valleys flecked with silver rills,
the ocean glistening ‘neath the golden rays;
they all are thine, and voiceless speak thy praise.
Thou dost the strength to workman’s arm impart;
from thee the skilled musician’ mystic art,
the grace of poet’s pen or painter’s hand,
to teach the loveliness of sea and land.
Then grant us, Lord, in all things thee to own,
to dwell within the shadow of thy throne,
to speak and work, to think, and live, and move,
reflecting thine own nature, which is love:
that so, by Christ redeemed from sin and shame,
and hallowed by thy Spirit’s cleansing flame,
ourselves, our work, and all our powers may be
a sacrifice acceptable to thee.
[Author: Earnest Edward Dugmore (1843-1925): SOURCE]
The verses missed out are in bold.
It is a regrettable that these verses were passed over. The first speaks to God’s beautiful Creation that signs the praise of God. The second to God’s guidance of human work for the appreciation of God’s gifts.
For me they speak of the importance of the re-enchantment of creation and the work of human hands. What could more important in a time of environment destruction and the dehumanization of much human work that results in the further destruction of our God-given world.
Next time I’ll sign them anyway!