Sunday, April 15, 2007

This is my Father's World

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Malt­bie D. Bab­cock, 1901.

H/T the OC Supertones.


byron said...

An interesting affirmation of cosmopolitan Christianity and the goodness of creation (esp interesting given the date). But how does this square with being an alien and stranger? There is an eschatological note sounded in the verse you have highlighted, perhaps indicating the not quite yet aspect of being at home in creation.

cardboardsword said...

Are we to be strangers on the planet Earth, or strangers to the "world" when that word is used to represent humanity? I would think the latter, since that call to us is in the context of us being different and set apart. It's impossible for us to be set apart from this creation - we can pretend we are but we are not, because we are made of it and to it our bodies will return. We can, however, be set apart from the rest of humanity, because in Christ we are part of the new creation - not fully yet, but nevertheless unavoidably heading for it. Our being part of the new creation has spiritual significance now - our spirits, minds, hearts are being renewed - but its physical significance will only come for us when all of creation is renewed.

cardboardsword said...

An afterthought... I suppose that given the emphasis God's Word puts on being separate, it's far more important to be set apart from humanity than to feel at home in God's creation... so I guess the emphasis ought to be on being aliens and strangers to humanity. I guess that since humanity and creation are inextricably linked by the fact that humans are part of God's creation, and since creation groans with longing for its renewal, it would be very odd to feel fully at home, and in fact probably wrong since we have a home to look forward to! It would be kinda like coming home from a long journey and stopping in at your neighbour's house and feeling at home there... the surroundings are familiar, reminiscent of what things are like at your home, but you're just not at home!

Moffitt the Prophet said...

In the context of Ephesians 2 (strangers and aliens in 2:19), is Paul talking about the gentile Ephesian christians and their inclusion into the people of God?

"For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.

Moffitt the Prophet said...

i would say that the hymn also has lines that have a longing or forward looking to them:

"This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done:
Jesus Who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one."

Moffitt the Prophet said...

I came across this song months ago on one of Alison's CDs - the American scar band 'The OC Supertones'. They changed it a bit, but Alison stuck some of the lyrics onto her wall.

Then I was listening to a Tom Wright sermon last week at work and he mentioned the hymn as being one of his favourite.

lachlanb said...

In early 2006, Micah Horton, professor of apologetics and theology at Westminster Seminary California wrote an article in Christianity Today that opened like this:

It was confusing to grow up singing both "This World Is Not My Home" and "This Is My Father's World." Those hymns embody two common and seemingly contradictory Christian responses to culture. One sees this world as a wasteland of godlessness, with which the Christian should have as little as possible to do. The other regards cultural transformation as virtually identical to "kingdom activity."

It's worth a read if you can get hold of the Jan 2006 issue of CT.

Moffitt the Prophet said...

Yes, Wright doesn't think too highly of "This World is not my home." Seems to think it leads to too much exploitation of various kinds, and plays into the hands of an imperialist mandate.

He doesn't think too highly of "There is a green hill far away" either.

cardboardsword said...

I think you've crossed your contexts Moff... that Ephesians passage is talking about being strangers amongst the people of God, yes, but the point was about being strangers in the world - two fairly distinct things, if I understand correctly

Moffitt the Prophet said...

So which passage are we using to argue that we are aliens and strangers in the world (just to clarify).

cardboardsword said...

Here's a few to go with:

Hebrews 11:13-16
1 Peter 1:1
1 Peter 1:13-25
1 Peter 2:4-12

It seems Peter's pretty big on it!