Music Monday: “All Creatures of Our God and King” (Norton Hall Band)

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Today’s music monday is a classic hymn done in a contemporary arrangement by the Norton Hall Band of Southern Seminary. If you are not familiar with this ministry you should be. They have produced some great contemporary remakes of classic hymns. Their attention to musicianship and theological accuracy in worship is encouraging and is a positive influence on the next generation of Christians who lead the church in worship through music.

This hymn is “All Creatures of Our God and King” that ends with the doxology. If you are not familiar with this hymn add it to your collection of hymns. It would serve as a great call to worship since it invites individuals to worship the Lord.

I’d like to add a few comments on the song, both theological and musical. It is easy to share a song like this on Facebook, but since this is a blog I’d like to add some commentary. Also, before I give these comments I would like to provide two disclaimers:

  1. The Scripture passages used may not have been as inspiration for the writing of the song. These are just passages that the song has caused me to think about or are theologically related to the content of the song.
  2. By no means do I consider myself an authority on music theory. I can only write about what I appreciate and what I do know about music! Therefore, these comments won’t be technical, but just my thoughts as a listener.

Theological Comments: The first two stanzas are rich in theological proper. It highlights and emphasizes God’s worthiness to be praised by all of His creation (Ps 145:10). The content points to general revelation (particularly general revelation) as a cause for worship (i.e., description of the sun and moon) (Ps 19:1-6). The second stanza emphasizes the Trinitarian aspect of God. The simplicity of the statement is eternally thought-provoking; believers should marvel at how Father, Son, and Spirit is to be the center of all worship.

The third and fourth stanzas focus on the redemptive work of God. This redemptive work of God gives the believer even greater reason to come and worship the God. Not only is the God of Scripture the creator of the universe, He is also the creator of new life through the shed blood of Jesus (Acts 20:28). There is also warm devotional encouragements for the believer to live out the redemption in Christ, “Christ has defeated every sin; cast all your burdens now on Him” (cf. Rom 6:6-7; 1 Pet 5:6-7).

The final stanza focuses the worshiper on the return of Christ. It reminds worshipers of God’s ultimate end of creation: the glory of God! It can serve as a source of encouragement since Christ is the victor no matter the difficulties or discouragements in life. Christ will be recognized as the Lord over all (Phil 2:11). God wins (Isa 42:8).

Musical Comments: The movement of contemporary bands playing traditional hymns has been a major encouragement in my life. Early on the song is driven by an underlying presence of the snare and shaker which gives it a “march-like” feel. The use of strings is soothing and a nice touch. I really appreciate the third and fourth verse. The drop and build in verse 3 matches the content of the verse and gives the worshiper an encouraging build to persevere in the faith. The key change going into the fourth verse also nicely matches the content of the fourth verse with its emphasis on the triumphant return of Christ.

The a cappella ending with the doxology is classic. It brings a nice end to the arrangement. The content of both songs are extremely God-centered doxology. I hope this is on the divine playlist when we reach the end of redemptive history.

Recommendation(s): This song is very versatile. It can and should be used in varying contexts. One of the most obvious is for corporate worship. Church music leaders should add this to their list of songs regulars. The song is also great for personal worship in devotional times or even background music while studying or at home or driving in the car.

The only downside is that Sovereign Grace Minsitries has already produced a similar contemporary version of “All Creatures of Our God and King” (with a short bridge). The song accomplishes much of what this song already offers: corporate singability and contemporary arrangement. Therefore, it would be nice to see a little bit more variety coming from Norton Hall Band (since there are ties to SGM). I figure they could have taken another classic hymn for a remake rather than a hymn that their circle has already done (I’m still waiting for a contemporary version of “To God be the Glory”). Regardless, both are great works.

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Here are the lyrics:

All creatures of our God and King
Lift up your voice and with us sing
O praise Him! Allelujah!
Thou, burning sun with golden beam
Thou, silver moon with softer gleam
O praise Him! O praise Him!
Allelujah! Allelujah! Allelujah!

Let all things their Creator bless
And worship Him in humbleness
O praise Him! Allelujah!
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son
And praise the Spirit, Three-in-One
O praise Him! O praise Him!
Allelujah! Allelujah! Allelujah!

All the redeemed washed by His blood
Come and rejoice in His great love
O praise Him! Allelujah!
Christ has defeated every sin
Cast all your burdens now on Him
O praise Him! O praise Him!
Allelujah! Allelujah! Allelujah!

He shall return in pow’r to reign
Heaven and earth will join to say
O praise Him! Allelujah!
Then who shall fall on bended knee?
All creatures of our God and King
O praise Him! O praise Him!
Allelujah! Allelujah! Allelujah!

Doxology:

Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost


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