436. This Is My Father's World

1 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.

3 This is my Father's world:
he shines in all that's fair;
in rustling grass I hear him pass
he speaks to me everywhere.
This is my Father's world:
why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King, let heaven ring!
God reigns; let earth be glad.

Text Information
First Line: This is my Father's world
Title: This Is My Father's World
Author: Maltbie D. Babcock (1901, alt.)
Reviser (st. 2): Mary Babcock Crawford (1972)
Meter: SMD
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Scripture: ; ; ;
Topic: Songs for Children: Hymns; Creation and Providence; Assurance (2 more...)
Copyright: St. 2 used by permission
Tune Information
Adapter: Franklin L. Sheppard (1915)
Meter: SMD
Key: E♭ Major
Source: English

Text Information:

Scripture References:
all st. = Gen. 1, Ps. 24, Ps. 104, Acts 4:24

When he went walking along the shores of Lake Ontario, Maltbie D. Babcock (b. Syracuse, NY, 1858; d. Naples, Italy, 1901) would say, "I'm going out to see my Father's world." He wrote this poem, originally in sixteen stanzas of four lines each; it was published posthumously in Babcock's Thoughts for Everyday Living (1901). Parts of his long poem were joined to form stanzas 1 and 3 in the Psalter Hymnal. Mary Babcock Crawford (b. Salem, OR, 1909), Babcock's granddaughter, wrote stanza 2 in 1972 at a time of increased ecological awareness and concern. That stanza was originally published in the Episcopal Hymnal (1982).

The text is a confession of faith and trust, a testimony that all creation around us is the handiwork of our Father, who made the creation (st. 1), charged us to take good care of it (st. 2), and continues to exercise his kingship over it (st. 3; also see 19 for this theme). The phrase "music of the spheres" in stanza 1 refers to the ancient belief that the planets made music or harmony as they revolved in the universe.

Babcock graduated from Syracuse University, New York, and Auburn Theological Seminary (now associated with Union Theological Seminary in New York) and became a Presbyterian minister. He served the Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, Maryland, and the Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City. In Baltimore he was especially popular with students from Johns Hopkins University, but he ministered to people from all walks of life. Babcock wrote hymn texts and devotional, poems, some of which were published in The School Hymnal (1899).

Mary Babcock Crawford attended Occidental College, Los Angeles, California, and received master's degrees from both San Francisco Theological Seminary and Columbia University, New York City. She has held administrative posts at Occidental College and at Furman University, Greenville, South Carolina. A United Methodist, she retired in Pebble Beach, California, where she was active in choral music well into her seventies.

Liturgical Use:
Many worship settings but especially those that focus on creation, providence, and steward¬ship of nature; fits well with springtime prayer services for crops/industry and for fall harvest thanksgiving; as a hymn of praise and a teaching hymn about God and creation.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

TERRA BEATA was originally a traditional English folk tune, a variant of which, entitled RUSPER, appeared in The English Hymnal in 1906. Franklin L. Sheppard (b. Philadelphia, PA, 1852; d. Germantown, PA, 1930) arranged the tune for Babcock's text and published it in the Presbyterian church school hymnal Alleluia (1915), edited by Sheppard (Babcock and Sheppard were friends).
After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Sheppard entered the family foundry business in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1875. He was organist at Zion Episcopal Church and later was an elder and music director of the Second Presbyterian Church in Baltimore. President of the Presbyterian Board of Publications, Sheppard also served on the committee that prepared the Presbyterian Hymnal of 1911. In the history of hymnody he is remembered primarily for arranging the tune TERRA BEATA for “This Is My Father's World.”

TERRA BEATA (also called TERRA PATRIS) is Latin for "beautiful world." A lively melody with an extended range, the tune requires a light manner of performance as well as light accompaniment. Try using guitars and recorders. Harmony singing is fine as long as voices stay light and energetic. Organists, choose light and bright foundation stops, not heavy diapasons. Easily learned by children, this is a vivacious hymn that would be hampered by plodding or weightiness. Observe a ritard only on the last line of stanza 3.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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