Day 24 - All Things Which Live Below the Sky

One of our best known hymns, often remembered from childhood, is “All Things Bright and Beautiful”; however I remember another hymn that also begins “All things…”, which seems almost to have disappeared but also celebrates God’s creation.

As a child, I attended our local Methodist church in Penarth, and in the 1950s and 60s their Sunday school was very big, with departments divided by age group, and separate classes within the departments. I still have the hymn book that was presented when I moved into the Juniors at the age of eight. As a life-long animal and nature lover, my favourite hymn in that book was “All things that live below the sky” telling of the glory of the natural world, but with an emphasis on our relationship to and appreciation of it. The penultimate verse reminds us how God cares for his creatures, and the last reminds us in the final two lines that we have co-responsibility with him in that caring.

“Make me a friend of helpless things,

Defender of the weak”


The hymn was written around 150 years ago, when people were not so aware of the lasting damage that human activity was doing to God’s wonderful world. Even when I was singing it, in the mid-20th century, we were only just beginning to realise the fragility of creation. Now, when we are only too aware of the need to look after it, this hymn speaks to us as never before.

Frances Wookey


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