Hymn Stories: “For the Beauty of the Earth”

At Thanksgiving, we often sing the classic hymn “For the Beauty of the Earth.” It describes the blessings for which we give thanks. And it praises the Giver of all good gifts. Here is the story behind this excellent hymn.

On a warm spring day in 1864, a man wandered through the countryside near Bath, England. His name was Folliett Pierpoint, and he was a scholar at Cambridge. As he walked, he heard birds singing sweetly and watched the breeze whisper over the hillside. The calm river Avon sparkled in the distance. Overcome with the beauty of God’s creation, he sat down and penned the words of this hymn.

For the beauty of the earth, For the beauty of the skies

For the Love which from our birth, over and around us lies

{Refrain}

Christ, our God, to Thee we raise, this our sacrifice of praise.

Instead of merely praising the beauty of nature, Folliett praises the “Love which, from our birth, over and around us lies.” He reminds us of the all-encompassing truth of Acts 17:28, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being…” Moment by moment, the love of God surrounds and sustains us.

Since he wrote it for use in the Lord’s Supper, Folliett addresses this hymn to Jesus Christ. According to the command of Hebrews 13:15, we offer a sacrifice of praise to Him.

For the beauty of each hour, of the day and of the night,

Hill and vale, and tree and flower,

Sun and moon and stars of light (refrain) 

For the rhythm of day and night—each hour of precious, never-returning life— Pierpoint thanks God. For the flow of hill and valley and the cadence of sun, moon, and stars, he praises God.

For the joy of ear and eye, for the heart and brain’s delight,

For the joy of mystic harmony, sinking sound to sense and sight (refrain)

For the joy of human love, brother, sister, parent, child,

Friends on earth, and friends above, For all gentle thoughts and mild (refrain)
 
Beyond the beauty of creation, God gave us eyes and ears to rejoice in His gifts. He gave us human love so that we might thrive in community. Through loving one another, we learn to understand and receive His love for us. We’re so thankful for the love of the folks at our church in North Sydney!

For each perfect Gift of Thine, to our race so freely given,

Graces human and Divine, Flowers of earth and buds of heaven (refrain)

For Thy Bride that evermore, lifteth holy hands above, 
 
Offering up on every shore, This Pure Sacrifice of Love (refrain)
 
Pierpoint reminds us that every good and perfect gift is from the Father. He thanks God for believers across the globe who observe the Lord’s Supper together. At our church in North Sydney, we celebrate the Lord’s Supper to remember Christ’s sacrifice.

For thyself, best Gift Divine, to the world so freely given,

For that great, great love of thine, peace on earth, and joy in heaven: (refrain)

 

In the closing verse, Pierpoint draws our gaze to the heart of the Lord’s Supper….our Saviour, Jesus Christ. From His hand come all good gifts on this earth. And, through His death, we can have forgiveness, eternal life, and a home in heaven.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, let’s take time to thank God for His great goodness to us! 

________________________________________________________________

Will you thank God for His blessings? Learn more about God each week by worshipping with the friendly church family of Northside Baptist Church – Sundays at 11:00 am. 

For more information, call (902) 736-6465 or email northside1178@gmail.com