Mary Schatkowski, Organist & Choir Director
St. Brigid’s Church, Nazareth
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.
Hymn 651, The Hymnal 1982, “This is My Father’s World.”
“This is My Father’s World” is one of the first hymns I remember learning in Sunday School at Trinity Lutheran Church, Chambersburg,PA. The version I grew up with is slightly different than the one in our hymnal. You can find the Lutheran version here: http://www.hymnary.org/hymn/LBoW1978/554. The words were a bit “tricky” to learn, but I loved the melody. As a fourth grader, I accompanied hymns for the Wednesday evening Prayer Service, which continued for several additional years. Having studied organ while in High School and College, I’ve had part time jobs as church organists for many denominations, and have become familiar with much of the hymn repertoire. “This is My Father’s World” remains a favorite.
The composer of this hymn was Maltbie Babcock, a scholar with a winning personality. Babcock became an expert in every discipline he attempted: music, sports, art, even hiking and fishing! He was called to the religious life, becoming a Presbyterian minister in Lockport, NY (where he wrote “This is My Father’s World” ), in Baltimore, and finally, as Minister to the Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City. Babcock was said to have told his secretaries of these churches on his way out of the building that he was “going out, to see my Father’s World.”
Babcock’s life was cut short, when on a trip to the Holy Land, he became ill with a bacterial fever that caused his death. But his beautiful hymn and lyrics will continue to inspire us to appreciate God’s care for us, and our world.
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