This Is My Father's World

Long ago, people imagined that the planets in their orbits were playing a symphony of the cosmos, a harmony of the spheres. This is the ancient vision that Maltbie Babcock evoked when he wrote, “and round me rings the music of the spheres.” Though this vision has been replaced by modern science, we now know that the heavenly bodies do indeed emit sounds. And even more wondrous, the ocean is also producing noises in its deepest and darkest regions - sounds that remain mysterious to us.

The whole universe is singing a song of its origin, telling us something about the One who originated it. In the third stanza, the author acknowledges that the world is not as it should be. Creation is marred and wounded. Yet, it also still belongs to God. We are therefore invited to listen carefully to the voice of God in His world - from the heights of space to the depths of the sea - and see how He heals it, listening for our own role in caring for Creation.

While a pastor in Lockport, New York, Babcock liked to hike in an area called "the escarpment," an ancient upthrust ledge near Lockport. It has a marvelous view of farms, orchards, and Lake Ontario, about 15 miles distant. It is said those walks in the woods inspired these lyrics. The title recalls an expression Babcock used when starting a walk: "I'm going out to see my Father's world."

"The world is Mine, and all that is in it." Psalm 50:12

This Is My Father's World

Maltbie D. Babcock (1901)

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.

2 This is my Father's world:

The birds their carols raise,

The morning light, the lily white,

Declare their Maker's praise.

This is my Father's world:

He shines in all that's fair;

In the rustling grass I hear Him pass,

He speaks to me everywhere.

3 This is my Father's world:

O let me ne'er forget

That though the wrong seems oft so strong,

God is the Ruler yet.

This is my Father's world:

Why should my heart be sad?

The Lord is King: let the heavens ring!

God reigns; let earth be glad!

Author: Maltbie D. Babcock

Maltbie D. Babcock (b. Syracuse, NY, 1858; d. Naples, Italy, 1901) 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).

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