My Father's World

You probably can’t imagine the scene without hearing the music. An older man dressed in grey rides his horse-cart into a glade, only to be met by a “halfling” named Frodo Baggins. But did you know those opening seven notes from Howard Shore’s iconic score purposefully call back to the beautiful hymn, “This Is My Father’s World”?

 

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.

 

We live in a world of beauty. It may be shaded by the curse of the fall, but each sunset calls us to exclaim, “This is my Father’s world!” We’re surrounded by God’s workmanship, and it’s His alone. Each tree is an echo of Eden and each brook points us to the river that will one day run through His holy city (Revelation 22:1-2). We wonder at the motion of the planets and stars, and how He provides us a home in such an expanse.

 

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” – Psalm 19:1 (ESV)

 

“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” – Psalm 8:3-4 (ESV)

 

It’s in that awe of the universe God made that we find King David humbly realizing that the God who turns the galaxies in His hand is aware of the least of His creations. And not only mindful of them, but they are the object of deep affection from One who loves infinitely.

 

Though the beauty of the world reflects so much of God’s goodness, we know that it’s still fallen. The hymnist recognizes how easy it is to lose sight of God’s sovereignty. “The wrong seems oft so strong” as we see a broken culture constantly mocking the will of our heavenly Father. It would seem every grace extended to us is twisted in defiance of the Giver – from gender and sex to life itself. We are broken people with fallen desires happily pursuing the prince of this age, Satan, to our own destruction.

 

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!

 

God is the ruler yet. Through forgiveness in Christ, we see the dark clouds of this world recede, revealing the beauty of His creation once again. Each mountain, waterfall and sunrise points us to our King – how can we remain downcast in the face of even the vilest this world offers when we know our God is enthroned? This is His world!

 

Near the end of Tolkien’s The Return of the King, Frodo and Sam sit in Mordor at one of their darkest points. 

 

“They stood up, and then they both stared in wonder. Away to their left, southward, against a sky that was turning grey, the peaks and high ridges of the great range began to appear dark and black, visible shapes. Light was growing behind them. Slowly it crept towards the North. There was battle far above in the high spaces of the air.”

 

“’Look at it, Mr. Frodo!’ said Sam. ‘Look at it! The wind’s changed. Something’s happening. He’s not having it all his own way. His darkness is breaking up out in the world there.’” 

 

Though we lament so much in the world today, Satan’s power was broken at the cross. The shadows remain, but we can look on the beauty of our world through the light of the Son. So, we join with both the hymnist and psalmist in declaring, “This is my Father’s world!”

 

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