Hymns of the Faith: This is My Father’s World, AtoZChallenge

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.

Today’s hymn is again one of my favorites, perhaps in my top five favorites.

This is My Father’s World was written by American Maltbie D. Babcock sometime before his untimely death in 1901 and published posthumously that same year.

Dr Michael Hawn writes regarding the tune TERRA BEATA that Babcock’s lyrics are set to:

The original poem was composed in 16 four-line stanzas, each beginning with “This is my Father’s world.” One of Babcock’s friends, Franklin Shepherd (1852-1930) adapted an English folk song inserting portions of Babcock’s text into three, eight-line stanzas. The hymn in this form first appeared in the composer’s hymnal Alleluia, a Presbyterian Sunday school book published in 1915. The tune name, TERRA BEATA, means “blessed earth” in Latin.

Here is a wonderful cover of this hymn by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir


Hymns of the Faith: Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart, AtoZChallenge

Well we are entering the final days of this year’s AtoZChallenge and while I have to play catch up (as I am doing now, composing this post at 10 PM New York time on Sunday evening, April 22 for yesterday’s post,) I thank those of you who have liked my posts so far.

For the letter I have chosen a song whose lyrics were written by Irish born George Croly, an Anglican Minister and was pastor of a church in one of the poorest London slums, St Stevens Anglican Church, according to Dr Michael Hawn.

Spirit of God, who dwells within my heart, 
wean it from sin, through all its pulses move. 
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as you are, 
and make me love you as I ought to love. 


Croly also wrote poetry, novels, history and biography.

The tune was written by Frederick C. Atkinson and is called MORECAMBE after an English town located along the west coast of England, north of Liverpool.

Here is a recording of this wonderful hymn by the Cathedral Choral Society

Hymns of the Faith: Rock of Ages, AtoZChallenge

This installment of Hymns of Faith, AtoZChallenge, features a well-loved hymn written by one of the Wesley’s theological opponents, an Anglican clergyman named Augustus Toplady, Rock of Ages.

Rock of Ages, cleft for me, 
let me hide myself in thee; 
let the water and the blood, 
from thy wounded side which flowed, 
be of sin the double cure; 
save from wrath and make me pure

Written around 1775-1776, it is traditionally held, according to wikipedia, that Toplady drew the inspiration for the song from a personal experience where he took refuge during a rain storm in a gorge as he was traveling.

Here is a cover by the Antrim (Ohio) Mennonite Choir

Hymns of the Faith, And Can it Be? AtoZChallenge

Well, I could not find a hymn, that I know, which begins with the letter ‘Q!’

So that reference I made to And, Can it Be in this post? Well, it gets the attention in this post!

And can it be that I should gain
An int’rest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, should die for me?

Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, should die for me!

I remembering singing this song during a Minister’s Conference at the seminary I attended, Asbury Seminary, many years ago now and the wonderful singing of it still resonates with me these many years later. I never get tired of listening to it

Written by Charles Wesley to commemorate his conversion experience, it is considered by some, perhaps many, to be his greatest hymn.

Here is a cover of this wonderful hymn, probably one of my top five, from an English choir (what better choice to sing a Wesley tune, right?)

Hymns of the Faith: Precious Memories, AtoZChallenge

Precious memories, unseen angels
Sent from somewhere to my soul
How they linger, ever near me
And the sacred past unfolds

A wonderfully simple song, Precious Memories, according to hymnary.org seems to have been written by Lonnie B. Combs and J. B. F. Wright. Little is known about Combs but Wright was born in Tennessee in 1877 and the song was composed and published in the 1923 to 1925 time frame.

And several websites that I checked indicated the Wright was never given the royalties that was expected by the song’s initial publisher but I could not confirm this with the hymnary site.

But despite the lack of information, this song means a great deal to many and who better to sing it than the Statler Brothers!


Hymns of the Faith: Leaning on the Everlasting Arms, AtoZ Challenge

(Note: I forgot to finish this post from the other day! Wow… well here it is!)

Well, yesterday’s entry was the most difficult one to write as I could not find in my short search any hymns that began with the letter “K” but the ancient and beautiful Kyrie Eleison.

This entry is a bit easier…

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning, leaning,
Safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Published in 1887,  the memorable chorus was written by Anthony J Showalter and the lyrics by Elisha Hoffman. It was written in response to Showalter, a gospel music composer, teacher and publisher, learning from two of his students that their wives had died.

Here is county music singer Alan Jackson’s cover of this wonderful hymn

Hymns of the Faith: O For A Thousand Tongues, AtoZChallenge

When I did the letter A, I could have done Charles Wesley’s great hymn And Can It Be? but instead I did Amazing Grace 

But in this installment of my AtoZChallenge, Hymns of the Faith I pick a Wesley song that I dearly love as well.

O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of his grace! 

According to MaryBeth Sanders at www.umcdiscipleship.org

Wesley wrote the song “for Sunday, May 21, 1739—the first anniversary of his conversion on Pentecost Sunday, or Whitsunday as it was known then. The conversion had preceded by three days John Wesley’s famous reaffirmation of his faith at Aldersgate Chapel.”

And she interestingly notes

“The original hymn had 18 stanzas. The seventh stanza became the first stanza of the hymn that we now know.”

Enjoy this wonderful hymn sung, in my opinion, for the way it was written – by the congregation!