O God, Your Creatures Fill the Earth
(“I Sing the Mighty Power of God”)
Lyrics by Carolyn Gillette
O God, your creatures fill the earth with wonder and delight,
And every living thing has worth and beauty in your sight.
So playful dolphins dance and swim;
Your sheep bow down and graze.
Your songbirds share a morning hymn
To offer you their praise.
You made the pets we welcome in—
They’re wondrous blessings, too.
With paws and whiskers, wings and fins,
They offer praise to you.
O Lord, you call us to embrace
These creatures in our care.
May we show kindness, love and grace
To all pets everywhere.
You made the creatures on each farm;
You know the things they need.
May they grow healthy, safe from harm,
And safe from human greed.
Just as a shepherd loves the sheep,
You know their joy, their pain.
Lord, bless the animals we keep;
May all farms be humane.
Your creatures live in every land;
They fill the sky and sea.
O Lord, you give us your command
To love them tenderly.
We’re called to have dominion here—
To care for them always.
By loving creatures you hold dear,
We offer you our praise.
Tune: Gesangbuch der Herzogl, Wirtembergischen, Katholischen
Hofkapelle, 1784; alt. 1868
Alternative Tune: FOREST GREEN CMD (“How Beautiful the
March of Days”)
Text: Copyright © 2011 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights
reserved. Permission is given for local church use of this hymn to
those who support the Humane Society of the United States.
Email: [email protected] Web site:
Hymn Note for “O God, Your Creatures Fill the Earth”
There are many wonderful references to animals, and to the care of animals, throughout the Bible. Psalm 104 is a prayer that recognizes many creatures that are part of God’s good creation. Psalm 148 calls on God’s creatures (“sea monsters… wild animals… all cattle… creeping things and flying birds…”) to praise the Lord. The Ten Commandments’ instruction about rest on the Sabbath includes livestock (Deuteronomy 5:14). Jesus’ teaching when he heals a man on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:9-14) assumes that, of course, righteous people will care for their animals and keep them safe from harm. Luke 15 reminds us that God is like a good shepherd who cares for every single sheep and goes after the one that is lost. Luke 12:6 tells us that God knows and cares when even a sparrow falls to the ground. In the creation stories in Genesis 1-2, God tells human beings to “have dominion”—to lovingly care for all that God has made, including the animals.
An excellent, online resource is the Humane Society Faith Outreach Program’s The Bible’s Teachings on Protecting Animals and Nature by Lewis Regenstein. Regenstein, president of the Interfaith Council for the Protection of Animals and Nature, examines scripture and discusses: God’s Love for Nature, Human-Stewardship Responsibilities, Religion and Protection of Animals, and more. Animals are often referenced among the more than 1,000 verses and passages related to the Earth in The Green Bible (HarperOne, 2008). The book also contains essays contributed by
Brian McLaren, Matthew Sleeth, N.T. Wright, Desmond Tutu and others, and includes a detailed index and personal study guide. Check out HSUS Faith Outreach office for free, online collection of religious perspectives on animals from noted authors, and also the profiles of the largest denominations in the United States in The HSUS’ Religious Statements on Animals.
Hymn Writer Carolyn Winfrey Gillette
Carolyn Winfrey Gillette is the author of Songs of Grace: New Hymns for God and Neighbor (Upper Room Books, 2009) and Gifts of Love: New Hymns for Today’s Worship (Geneva Press, 2000). Her hymns can be found in the hymnals of the United Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, Christian Reformed and United Church of Canada. They have been used by Habitat for Humanity, Church World Service, National Council of Churches, Family Promise, Sojourners, Souper Bowl of Caring and others. A complete list of Carolyn’s 190+ hymns can be found at www.carolynshymns.com Carolyn and her husband Bruce serve as the co-pastors of Limestone Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware where they have had annual Blessing of the Animals services for several years that have included their dog, Molly.