On Wonder Awe and Nature

Collected by
Rev Rex A E Hunt MSc(Hons)

Some hymns and songs I have picked up along the way which invite us to take Nature seriously…
Permission to use should be obtained from the copyright holders.

Big Bang”  (Tune: ‘Amazing Grace’ or other suitable CM tune)
We seek the source of all that was
of all that is to be;
the ground of being, source of life
that set creation free 

The cataclysmic cosmic force,
God's rollercoaster ride,
may give a glimpse back into time
as particles collide.

For here we watch, observe, compute
and try to understand
the time before we even thought
what physics might demand.

But even if we comprehend
or wonder at these things,
Higgs boson, quasars, pulsars, quarks,
we need the faith God brings.

The test of all we ought to be
is in the common place,
our depth of kindness, strength of love,
that demonstrate God's grace.  (© Andrew Pratt 10/9/2008)

  • Written in the day that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator complex, intended to collide opposing beams of protons, was put into action.

"From Season to Season”  (Tune: ‘Foundation’ 11 11 11 11 anapaestic)
From season to season, through death and re-birth,
this world, through its phases, shows love has no dearth.
Such love is for sharing, to do good to all,
to nurture well-being, to echo God's call.

Through sensitive reason we fathom the need
of neighbours, of nature; we subjugate greed.
We offer each other the kiss of God's peace,
embracing earth's harmony, hatred will cease.

Through summer and autumn, through winter's release,
we welcome spring's coming with nature's increase.
All praise for the gifting of harvest and life,
all power to the ending of all human strife.  (Andrew Pratt)

Let All the Beauty…”  (Tune: ‘Danby’, LM)
Let all beauty we have known
illuminate our hearts and minds.
Rejoice in wonders daily shown,
in faith and joy, and love that binds.

We celebrate with singing hearts
the loveliness of sky and earth,
the inspiration of the arts,
the miracle of ev’ry birth.

Life’s music and its poetry
surround and bless us through our days.
For these we sing in harmony,
together giving thanks and praise. (Dana McLean Greeley)

Tectonic Plates”  (Tune: ‘Intercessor’)
Tectonic plates beneath the ocean's surface,
uplifted, twisting life and limb and wave.
The landscape that was home has lost its features,
destruction means that few are left to save.

An empty chair amid such devastation
where cars like toys, are lifted, spun about;
and here we wait and pray in helpless anguish;
and 'where is God' we want to cry and shout.

Incarnate God we need your present spirit
to live within your people at this time,
to energise our prayerful words and actions,
to offer grace to life's discordant rhyme.

God offer hope to those who feel forsaken,
to those whose lives have spun and turned around;
to those whose grief defies all consolation,
bring grace and love and hope and solid ground. (©) Andrew Pratt 13/3/2011

Earth Is Enough  (Tune: ‘Fillmore’, 88 88 88)
Here on the paths of every day
Here on the common human way
Is all the stuff the gods would take
To build a heaven, to mould and make
New Edens. Ours the task sublime
To build eternity in time.

We need no other stones to build
The temple of the unfulfilled
No other ivory for the doors
No other marble for the floors
No other cedar for the beam
And dome of man’s immortal dream.  (Edwin Markham, 1913)

Seek Not Afar for Beauty  (Tune: ‘Cliff Town’, 10 10 10 10)
Seek not afar for beauty; lo, it glows
In dew-wet grasses all about your feet,
In birds, in sunshine, childish faces sweet,
In stars and mountains summits topped with snows.

Go not abroad for happiness; behold
It in a flower blooming at your door.
Bring love and laughter home, and ever more
Joy shall be yours as changing years unfold.

Dream not of noble service elsewhere wrought;
In simple duties that await your hand
God’s voice is speaking his divine command:
Life’s common deeds build all that saints have taught.

In wonder workings, or some bush aflame,
Men look for God and fancy him concealed;
But in earth’s common things he stands revealed,
While grass and flowers and stars spell out his name.  (Minot Judson Savage, 1883)

Spring Has Now Unwrapped the Flowers”  (Tune: ‘Tempus Adest Floridum’, 76.76D)
Spring has now unwrapped the flowers,
Day is fast reviving;
Life in all her growing powers
Toward the light is striving:
Gone the iron touch of cold,
Winter time and frost time;
Seedlings, working through the mould,
Now make up for lost time.

All the world with beauty fills,
Gold the green enhancing;
Flowers make merry on the hills,
Set the meadows dancing.
Earth puts on her dress of glee;
Flowers and grasses hide her.
Go we forth in charity,
Brothers all beside her.  (Theodoric Petri’s Piae Cantiones, 1582)

"Song of Earth (Tune: ‘Easter Hymn’, 77.77 + Alleluias)
Hail the Earth that first appeared. Alleluia!
When a word from God was heard. Alleluia!
Let the Earth arise and be. Alleluia!
Filled with living mystery. Alleluia!

Hail the rainbow flying high. Alleluia!
Spun by God across the sky. Alleluia!
Giving Earth a solemn word. Alleluia!
Never to unlease a flood. Alleluia!

Hail the planet blue and green. Alleluia!
Where the face of God is seen. Alleluia!
Glory filling all the Earth. Alleluia!
Celebrating every birth. Alleluia!

Hail our body made with clay. Alleluia!
Given breath to praise and pray. Alleluia!
Clay God honoured by God's birth. Alleluia!
As a human life on Earth. Alleluia!

Hail the groans of Earth in pain. Alleluia!
From the weight of human sin. Alleluia!
Longing for the Christ who died. Alleluia!
All creation to revive. Alleluia!  (Norman Habel)

Song for Planet Earth”  (Tune: ‘Bunessan’, 55.54D) 
Mystery and wonder greet Your creation;
out of the chaos galaxies grow:
may we discern Your purpose emerging –
inter-connections in all we know.

Kangaroos bounding through ancient fern gullies,
whales in the oceans, birds in the air:
we are a part of all this profusion,
may we yet grasp how stewards should care.

We are a nation of droughts and downpours,
yet blighting our world by a consumerist urge:
may we have grace to repent of our folly,
move with Your rhythm, conserve Your earth.

You have endowed us with wisdom and foresight,
minds that can focus, dreams that bring life:
may we have wills to embrace all creation,
to faithfully serve You doing the right.  (Neil Wilkinson, 2007)

When We Find Beauty in our Depths”  (Tune: ‘Herongate’)
When we find beauty in our depths,
When we find love within our heart,
When we find dance within our toes,
God will form our sail and chart.

Our inner beauty helps us see,
Our inner love will help us care,
Our inner dance will help us sing
Till we sense God everywhere.

So we will love and then be loved,
So we will look and be amazed
Amazed at all the many ways
Earth is good and God is praised.  (© William L Wallace)

Autumn Comes in all its Fullness(Tune: 'Hamilton Avenue', 87.87)
Autumn comes in all its fullness
harvesting both land and hearts
Autumn has its birth in winter
in the stillness where life starts.
Every death brings hope of birthing,
every birth enfolds life's end,
for the seasons of our living
mirror patterns nature penned.

Autumn gives us time for choosing
seeds which bear the richest fruits,
fragile life which we can nurture
into just or vain pursuits.

Buried in autumnal endings
lies the shoot that bursts the tomb
for the letting go in autumn
sows the seed that births the bloom. (William L Wallace)

As Leaves that Softly Fall”  (Tune: ‘Autumn Leaves’)
As leaves that softly fall to earth
We let go of hate and fear.
As autumn winds strip branches bare
We explore each smile and tear.
As seeds are spread both far and wide
We build hope and not despair.  (William L Wallace)

Winter's Long Night”  (Tune: ‘Slane’)
Deep in the darkness of winter's long night,
coming and going without sun for light;
As our good planet revolves in its course,
winter's lone starlight is our northern resource.

These days of solstice in which we now dwell-
whether or not we can sing of Noel-
drive us to find the warmth of dear friends,
love light to shine, and the cold to transcend.

May we not hope for our summer too soon,
missing the blessings of dark night and moon.
May our long shadow not raise our complaint,
but stir our will to let inner light reign.  (Christopher New)

Climate is Warming” (Tune: ‘The Ash Grove’,
As climate is warming
Will bees keep on swarming
If we just continue to damage the earth?
Will birds and sea-creatures
With beautiful features
Forever be lost by denying their worth?
Will trees and each flower
Succumb to the power
Of poisons and toxins we put in the air?
As ice-caps diminish,
A sign of the finish,
We must meet this crisis and show that we care.

If we start to measure
Some things that we treasure
It may cause us anguish to let these things go;
For comfort and leisure,
Our life-style and pleasure,
We claim we have earned and don't wish to forgo;
But we can all ponder
And face what we squander,
Then start to make change in the way that we live;
We can curb excesses;
Each harms and oppresses
The poor and the weak; we take what they don't give.

To greenhouse emissions
We make our additions
And by them we foster some possible gloom,
But with perseverance
We can make a diff’rence;
We can work to limit the fuel we consume,
We'll tell each law-maker
That every green acre
Is ours to look after and not to destroy,
God's bounty possessing;
We're stewards of blessing;
We meet our commitment with challenging joy.

With nature so fragile,
Yet dazzling and fertile,
We ponder its beauty, its charm and its grace;
Evolving triumphant
With life so abundant,
Confounded we are with so much to embrace.
Yet these green-house gases
Pollute in their masses;
We need to decrease them; we know that we should!
When nature is bleeding
We hear urgent pleading
To change our behaviour; we know how we could!

If we stop this warming
Then bees will keep swarming
And sweetness of honey remains for our taste.
Then birds and sea creatures
And hills and sea beaches
Will stay in their magic, unharmed by our waste.
The charm every hour
Of trees and each flower
Will bring us to silence in wonder and awe.
With God so surrounding
In beauty astounding
We kneel in God's presence to praise and adore.  (George Stuart)

O Earth, You Are Surpassing Fair”  (Tune: ‘Merthyr Tydfil’, LMD)
O earth, you are surpassing fair,
from out your store we’re daily fed,
we breath your life supporting air
and drink the water that you shed.
Yet greed has made us mar your face,
pollute the air, make foul the sea:
the folly of the human race
is bringing untold misery.

Our growing numbers make demands
that e’en your bounty can not meet;
starvation stalks through hungry lands
and some die hourly in the street.
The Eden dream of long ago
is vanishing before our eyes;
unwise, unheeding, still we go,
destroying hopes of paradise.

Has evolution been in vain
that life should perish ere its prime?
Or will we from our greed refrain
and save our planet while there’s time?
We must decide without delay
if we’re to keep our race alive:
the choice is ours, and we must say
if we're to perish or survive.  (John A Storey)

Blue Boat Home”  (Tune: ‘Hyfrydol’, 87.87D)
Though below me, I feel no motion
Standing on these mountains and plains
Far away from the rolling ocean
Still my dry land heart can say
I’ve been sailing all my life now
Never harbor or port have I known
The wide universe is the ocean I travel
And the earth is my blue boat home 

Sun, my sail and moon, my rudder
As I ply the starry sea
Leaning over the edge in wonder
Casting questions into the deep
Drifting here with my ship’s companions
All we kindred pilgrim souls
Making our way by the lights of the heavens
In our beautiful blue boat home 

I give thanks to the waves upholding me
Hail the great winds urging me on
Greet the infinite sea before me
Sing the sky my sailor’s song
I was born upon the fathoms
Never harbor or port have I known
The wide universe is the ocean I travel
And the earth is my blue boat home.   (© Peter Mayer. <http://petermayer.net/music/)

Wonder of Wonders”  (Tune: ‘Wonder of Wonders’, 55 54 55 54D)
Wonder of wonders,
life is beginning,
fragile as blossom, 
strong as the earth.
Shaped is a person,
love has new meaning,
parents and people
sing at their birth.

Now with rejoicing,
make celebration;
joy full of promise,
laughter through tears,
naming and blessing,
bring dedication,
humble in purpose
over the years.  (Brian Wren)

Let All the Beauty…”  (Tune: ‘Danby’, LM)
Let all beauty we have known
illuminate our hearts and minds.
Rejoice in wonders daily shown,
in faith and joy, and love that binds.

We celebrate with singing hearts
the loveliness of sky and earth,
the inspiration of the arts,
the miracle of ev’ry birth.

Life’s music and its poetry
surround and bless us through our days.
For these we sing in harmony,
together giving thanks and praise. (Dana McLean Greeley)

Our World Is One World”  (Tune: ‘Chernobyl’, 58 86 4)
Our world is one world
what touches one affects us all:
the seas that wash us round about,
the clouds that cover us,
the rains that fall.

Our world is one world
the thoughts we think affects us all:
the way we build our attitudes,
with love or hate, we make,
a bridge or wall.

Our world is one world
it’s ways of wealth affects us all:
the way we spend, the way we share,
who are the rich or poor,
who stand or fall.

Our world is one world
just like a ship that bears us all:
where fear and greed make many holes,
but where our hearts can hear,
a different call. (Cecily Taylor/Stainer & Bell)