This is My Father’s World, an American hymn by Maltbie Babcock, goes with the Introduction of a new Ecumenical Catechism.

Here is the Fountainview Academy version of “This is My Father’s World,” performed with orchestra, with singing from a canoe in British Columbia.

Born in Syracuse, New York in 1858, Maltbie Davenport Babcock graduated from Syracuse University with highest honors, then from Auburn Theological Seminary. A baseball player while in college, Babcock wrote his most famous hymn while serving as a Presbyterian pastor in  Lockport, New York, He used to tell his wife he was going out to see “His Father’s World” while walking overlooking Lake Ontario. He was later called as pastor of larger churches in Baltimore and New York City.

Maltbie Babcock had a holistic view of life and work. Here is one of his many memorable quotes:

“The world is God’s workshop; the raw materials are His; the ideals and patterns are His; our hands are “the members of Christ,” our reward His recognition. Blacksmith or banker, draughtsman or doctor, painter or preacher, servant or statesman, must work as unto the Lord, not merely making a living, but devoting a life. This makes life sacramental, turning its water into wine. This is twice blessed, blessing both the worker and the work.”

This alludes to Colossians 3:23-24. The Apostle Paul wrote these words to the church at Colossae:

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”

Other verses in the Bible teach that all honest work is sacred unto the Lord when performed by a Christian. Of course, people of other faiths can also do their work to the glory of God, who made all people in His image.

Here are the lyrics to Rev. Babcock’s famous hymn:

“This is my Father’s world,

And to my list’ning 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.”

 

“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.”

 

“This is my Father’s world:

Oh, let me ne’er forget

That though the wrong seems oft so strong,

God is the ruler yet.

This is my Father’s world,

The battle is not done:

Jesus who died shall be satisfied,

And earth and Heav’n be one.”

The tune was written by Franklin L. Sheppard in 1915.

Rev. Babcock led a fund-raising effort to assist Jewish refugees from Russia, victims of a pogram in the 1880s. So he lived the last verse and did something about it.

1910 biography said of him,

“Babcock was preeminently a preacher. He was a clear thinker and a fluent speaker, with a marvelous personal magnetism which appealed to all classes of people, and the influence of which became in a sense national. His theology was broad and deep, yet without a touch of present-day uncertainty. Added to the genius of spirituality he had the genius of work, and it was owing to his unselfish devotion to the great work of uplifting mankind that he literally wore himself out and died at the early age of forty-two. Noted for his impartial charity, he reached people in countless ways and exerted everywhere a remarkable personal magnetism. While he published no books he may be said to have ‘lived, or sung his thoughts’.”

Rev. Babcock died in Naples, Italy in 1901, reportedly at his own hand, while being treated for brucellosis, then called “Mediterranean fever.” This bacterial infection causes fever, pain and depression. Depression has claimed the lives of many people before and since that time and is no joking matter.

Here are two more Babcock quotes,

“Better to lose count while naming your blessings than to lose your blessings to counting your troubles.”

And

“Business is religion, and religion is business. The man who does not make a business of his religion has a religious life of no force, and the man who does not make a religion of his business has a business life of no character.”

King David of ancient Israel wrote these inspired words in Psalm 19:1: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

The photograph in the LinkedIn and Patch articles was taken by a friend outside our building during today’s partial solar eclipse. It is on its side. The angled surface is the roof of the building. I viewed it with more than a hundred coworkers as people all across America paused to view the partial or total solar eclipse.

The New Testament Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans (verse 1:20), “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from His workmanship, so that men are without excuse.”

In our modern world people have scientific knowledge that often leads us to discount God’s hand in creation. To many of us, however, the orderly creation that allows scientists to predict the motions of the planets testifies to His power and knowledge. Maltbie Babcock recognized God’s hand in creation in his hymn; another coworker who snapped a great photo today through the clouds admitted that he only took the picture and gave credit to the Creator.

Discussion questions for second session:

1.    What did you think of the introduction?

2.   If you are in a workplace study group, how do you interact with those who hold differing views? How does a person’s theology impact your particular line of work?

3.   Do you have to believe in a literal account of Genesis 1-3 to accept the Fall of man?

4.   How does this reconcile with theistic evolution, or is it incompatible?

5.   Do you accept original sin from your observations of people and their behavior from early childhood? If not, do you accept that you are a sinner?

6.   As you take prayer requests for members of your study group, remember to pray for leaders in your workplace, other churches, and government leaders of all nations.

For another hymn that goes with the Introduction and the history behind it, click on Praise to the Lord, the Almighty.

About the authors

Raised in the United Methodist Church, Dale Murrish helped plant Troy, Michigan’s Kensington Community Church in 1990. He was ordained an Orthodox Presbyterian Church deacon in 2001 after a year’s training in the Westminster Catechism and church history. Dale and his wife have two grown children and are members of a Gospel Coalition affiliated church in southeast Michigan.

A lifelong Roman Catholic, Reggie Bollich was ordained a Deacon in 2006. His interests include archaeology (has been on several digs in the Holy Land) and mission work in Thailand, the Middle East and Latin America. He and his wife Dottie lived in the Middle East while he worked for Exxon and now live in Lafayette, LA.

Raised in the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church, Philip Vorgias returned to his ethnic roots and joined the Greek Orthodox Church in 1994. He has a passion for archaeology and history as well as advancing the cause of religious freedom for the indigenous Christian communities in the near and middle east. In this last, Phil is active in Political Action Committees promoting human and religious rights for Christians in Turkey, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon and assuring the US Government raises Religious Rights in foreign policy discussions with those nations.

All three authors have engineering as their first vocation, and a passion for the gospel of Jesus Christ and the ecumenical movement.

Acknowledgments

Thanks go to Deacon Reggie Bollich of Lafayette, Louisiana who wrote on the Roman Catholic perspective and Phil Vorgias of Troy, Michigan who wrote on the Orthodox view. I also appreciate Theodore Karakostas, author of two books on the Orthodox Church, and many other Christians who read the manuscript and offered suggestions.

Permission is granted to copy this catechism and italicized comments in its entirety for non-commercial purposes. The copyright on the original 1641 catechism has obviously long since expired. Some minor rewording of the 1959 edition cited above was done.

Sincerely,

Dale Murrish

Troy, Michigan

dale@USAMeltingpot.org

http://usameltingpot.org/author/dale/

Copyright 2005, 2017 by Dale Murrish. All rights reserved except as noted above.

Version 3.97, August, 2017

Other articles

Please check out The Michigan Declaration and consider signing it.

In previous blog posts, I began telling the story of my brain tumor and the depression which followed it. The second article in the series described my faith in God which sustained me through both trials.

Having recently started a word-by-word translation of Martin Luther’s Bible from German to English, I introduced the project and published Matthew Chapter 1 . Later I wrote commentary on it; my church background and theological training is in my USA Melting Pot bio.

Dale Murrish writes on historytraveltechnologyreligion and politics for the USA Melting Pot club LinkedIn, and Troy Patch. You can help this non-profit club by making your Amazon purchases through the link on the left side of their website. You can also see over a dozen ethnic presentations from people with firsthand knowledge under Culture & Country (right hand side), and outdoor presentations (Hobby & Fun), including posts on bicycling, skiing and camping.

Other interesting articles on the USA Melting Potwebsite have been written by Bilal Rathur on his hajj to Saudi Arabia (Part 6) and by Carl Petersen. Thanks to both of them for their contributions.