Stories Behind Popular Hymns: Gaither Homecoming


All Creatures of Our God and King

When it comes to classic hymns, a title like “Song of Brother Sun,” might seem out of place. In fact, it sounds more like a song from the 1960s hippie movement. Instead, it’s the original title of a hymn by St. Francis of Assissi, now known as “All Creatures of Our God and King.”

A lover of nature, animals, and anyone in need, St. Francis is widely remembered and beloved by the church for his simple and compassionate lifestyle. He was born into considerable means but denounced his inheritance, choosing to live only on what he needed. He established the Franciscan Order of Friars, which eventually grew into an entire movement of men and women who followed him into his meager lifestyle for the sake of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Rather than finding value in money and manmade riches, St. Francis recognized the beauty of God’s handiwork and the glory of the Lord revealed in nature. He urged the creation to join with him in worship. And he wasn’t the only one. The psalmist declared as much in Psalm 148, “Praise the Lord! . . . Praise Him, sun and moon . . . For He commanded and they were created. . . . You great sea creatures and all the depths . . . mountains and all hills; fruitful trees and all cedars; beasts and all cattle; creeping things and flying fowl . . . Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and heaven.”

Is there anyone more creative than our God? He spoke, and the world came into existence. He breathed, and mankind was born. What have we to do but praise Him? And if we don’t, as Christ said, the stones would immediately cry out” (Luke 19:40).