There’s no shortage of ugliness in our world. A quick scan of today’s environmental headlines reveals any number of horrors: burnt-out Californian forests, flooded Midwestern plains. It’s hard to pause to appreciate the wildflowers in bloom when dead whales wash ashore with plastic-engorged stomachs on beaches all over the world.
Perhaps it helps to know that when we fail to see the beauty around us, other creatures don’t. Some scientists now believe that animals appreciate beauty for its own sake.
Usually, the first (and most common) purpose ascribed to beauty is its functionality. Beauty can alert us to healthfulness or the presence of fertility, a useful and vital role in producing healthy offspring. In this scientific view, beauty serves no other purpose than as a genetic signpost.
But another potential exists.
This article got me thinking about the hymn "All Creatures of Our God and King," inspired by a poem of St. Francis of Assisi. I arranged this hymn (differently than David Crowder) and have played my arrangement at a few churches I've served, all well-received. Lyrics below:
All creatures of our God and King, lift up your voice and with us sing alleluia, alleluia! Thou burning sun with golden beam, thou silver moon with softer gleam, O praise him, O praise him, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
Thou rushing wind that art so strong, ye clouds that sail in heav'n along, O praise him, alleluia! Thou rising morn, in praise rejoice, ye lights of evening, find a voice, O praise him, O praise him, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
Thou flowing water, pure and clear, make music for thy Lord to hear, alleluia, alleluia! Thou fire so masterful and bright, that givest man both warmth and light, O praise him, O praise him, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
Let all things their Creator bless, and worship him in humbleness, O praise him, alleluia! Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son, and praise the Spirit, three in one. O praise him, O praise him, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!