For the Beauty of the Earth

For the Beauty of the Earth

Folliott S. Pierpoint (1835-1917)

Commonly sung to: Dix

by: Conrad Kocher, 1838

Here is a YouTube recording:  http://youtu.be/JdLh3u-Qt50

1 For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies,
For the Love which from our birth
Over and around us lies:
Christ, our God, to Thee we raise
This our Sacrifice of Praise.

2 For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
Sun and moon and stars of light:
Christ, our God, to Thee we raise
This our Sacrifice of Praise.

3 For the joy of ear and eye,
For the heart and brain’s delight,
For the mystic harmony
Sinking sense to sound and sight:
Christ, our God, to Thee we raise
This our Sacrifice of Praise.

4 For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth, and friends above;
For all gentle thoughts and mild:
Christ, our God, to Thee we raise
This our Sacrifice of Praise.

5 For each perfect Gift of Thine
To our race so freely given,
Graces human and Divine,
Flowers of earth, and buds of Heaven:
Christ, our God, to Thee we raise

6 This our Sacrifice of Praise.
For Thy Bride that evermore
Lifteth holy hands above,
Offering up on every shore
This Pure Sacrifice of Love:
Christ, our God, to Thee we raise
This our Sacrifice of Praise.

7 For Thy Martyrs’ crown of light,
For Thy Prophets’ eagle eye,
For Thy bold Confessors’ might,
For the lips of Infancy:
Christ, our God, to Thee we raise
This our Sacrifice of Praise.

8 For Thy Virgins’ robes of snow,
For Thy Maiden Mother mild,
For Thyself, with hearts aglow,
Jesu, Victim undefiled,
Offer we at Thine own Shrine
Thyself, sweet Sacrament Divine.

 

 

 

 Elliot Pierpoint was an ardent Tractarian, also known as the High Church movement within the Anglican Church of England. This movement has deep historical roots dating back to the Tudor’s in England. As one of the most distant countries geographically which was ostensibly Roman Catholic, there was a history of a difficult relationship between local political and religious leadership and the Papal powers in Rome. While the Reformation certainly took hold in England, especially the Presbyterian and Reformed traditions, the break from Rome was much more nuanced than found throughout the rest of Europe. There remained, through much of the Church of England, a strong “High Church” practice and ethos which eventually manifested itself in the Tractarian movement. This movement started as an attempt to establish the Anglican Church as an apostolic church on par with the Orthodox and Roman branches. Ultimately, manly of its practitioners joined and assumed leadership roles in the Roman Church.

For the Beauty of the Earth is used by many different denominations, each one selecting various verses to fit within their traditions. This hymn was originally meant as a Eucharistic hymn, many hymn books change the refrain from “sacrificial praise” to “grateful praise” which would make the text appropriate for use in other parts of the worship service.

Pierpoint used nature as a starting point of a lot of his poetic writing. The first three stanzas reflect our sensuous (relating to our senses) appreciation of the creation; from the earth and sky, day and night, and mystic harmony of all creation. The rest of the stanzas address mankind’s experience of the relational. Starting with our immediate relationships of brother, sister, parent, child to those of friends alive and dead, all of these are included within the sacrifice which is our life. The next two stanzas deal with the divine sacrifice of love, which is seen in creation and the sacrifice of grace. The final two stanzas move from the human response of this divine sacrifice to a summary of the Gospel story of Virgin birth to the Divine Sacrament (crucifixion and resurrection).




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