Monday, March 12, 2018

Beauty, Gratitude, and Worship

Picture Book: For the Beauty of the Earth
Author: Folliot S. Pierpoint
Illustrator: Lucy Fleming
Summary & Hanna’s Comments: Hopefully you know this hymn which was written in 1864 and is still sung across worship communities and settings. 
I was thrilled to see it become a picture book! We requested that it be sung when each of our children was baptized so it has extraordinary meaning in our family. 
The most famous hymn from this English hymnist, its lyrics are a bountiful celebration of a spectrum of God’s great gifts. The illustrator offers rich imagery of the lyrics. 
Initially, I love this hymn (and admire this book) for its affirmation of God's glory in nature. 

It also emphasizes the gift of love that surrounds us upon our birth and raises us in family.

This hymn acknowledges community in all that is Holy 
and the opportunity for worship in the glory of nature.   

Here you have diversity, in nature and people, honored as one of God's greatest patterns. 
A variety of human activities are shown. Each of them honoring our Creator God. But as you might expect from the title, the focus of this book is on the spectacle of God's glory outdoors. 
This is a picture book about worship, not just praise but contemplation, gratitude, and connection to everything that is Holy. 
In one of the later verses, you're given traditional images of  The Church Universal who is "offering a pure sacrifice of love."  
If only this was always so and if only the illustrator had chosen to show Church in non-traditional ways as well, apart from a building. 
This gorgeous book ends with a fervent hope for peace.
The score is in the back so that you can sing it together as you enjoy the illustrations. The text is rich enough to feature in a series of ministry experiences and family readings. This would allow your audience to become comfortable with the text and their singing. 
Original Publisher & Date: Sparkhouse Family, 2017
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: Scriptures about gratitude, Earth’s beauty, and God’s glory would all connect to this picture book.
Idea(s) for Application: One of many applications of this book in ministry is to use it in a lesson that introduces an exploration of why and how we worship God, where and when we may worship, and how that has changed personally or throughout Christian history.