5

Let All Things Now Living

Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

Employing Old Testament images, the text calls forth praise from all creatures and directs that praise to God the Creator. We praise God because he made us and provides for us (st. 1); we join our praise to that of the entire universe in a song of “hosanna and praise” (st. 2).

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

This song beautifully merges God’s creative work, his providential guidance of all, and our response of trust and thanksgiving. Each of these themes is amplified clearly in the confessions. Singing can be meaningfully coupled with a reading of Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 10, Questions and Answers 27-28: “The almighty and ever present power of God…upholds, as with his hand, heaven and earth and all creatures and so rules them that leaf and blade, rain and drought, fruitful and lean years, food and drink, health and sickness, prosperity and poverty—all things, in fact, come to us not by chance but by his fatherly hand…nothing can separate us from his (God’s) love.”
 
Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 9 claims that God made this “a world of color, beauty and variety...,” a theme which is picked up throughout this song. The universe is a beautiful book to make us ponder the “invisible things of God” (Belgic Confession, Article 2).

Call to Worship

A text especially mindful of children
This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
God made the bright, warm sunshine and the freezing-cold snow.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
God made the little tiny flowers and the great big pine trees.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
God made the peaceful ponds and the crashing waves.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
God made the cornfields and the rocky mountains.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
God made the creeping caterpillars and kicking kangaroos.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
God made you, and God made me.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Come, let us praise God for making all things good!
The Worship Sourcebook, A.1.2.4

Words of Praise

How magnificent for us to ponder, triune God of grace,
how your Word spoke creation into being,
how your Spirit breathed life into every living creature.
Receive now our praise in concert
with the symphony of praise
and saints and angels in heaven—
all offered through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
The Worship Sourcebook, A.1.4.4

Creator God,
we praise you for this world.
As we continue to learn more of the vastness of your cosmos
and the smallest particles of each atom,
we stand in awe that you created all things
in a great harmonious design.
Open our eyes and ears that we may take delight
in the beauty and variety of sky and sea,
of desert and mountain, of plants and flowers,
of birds and fish, of creatures large and small,
and of humankind, the crown of your creation.
We praise you for the world you made, maintain,
and give to us to care for and enjoy. Amen.
The Worship Sourcebook, A.1.4.13

Confession

God, our Creator, you made the sun and the stars.
You drew up the hills and the mountains.
You formed us and breathed life into us.
You saved us and guide us.
In our arrogance, we turn from you.
We think that we can handle the concerns of our lives on our own.
We want to do things our way in our time,
and too often, we forget that you hold all things, including us.
Forgive our pride and stubbornness.
Teach us dependence on you
through our Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.
 
 
— Carrie Steenwyk

Assurance

Here are words you may trust,
words that merit full acceptance:
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
To all who confess their sins and resolve to lead a new life,
he says, “Your sins are forgiven.”
He also says, “Follow me.”
Now to the one who rules all worlds,
immortal, invisible, the only God,
be honor and glory forever and ever.
—based on 1 Timothy 1:15, 17
The Worship Sourcebook, 2.4.3

Blessing/Benediction

May our great God, the source of all good things,
shower you with his abundant blessings
so that your hearts overflow with endless gratitude.
The Worship Sourcebook, C.9.2.3

Additional Prayers

For the earth and the gift of good land,
we give thanks, O Lord.
For the anticipation of a new growing season,
we give thanks, O Lord.
For those who labor on the farm and in the marketplace,
we give thanks, O Lord.
For the abundance of food and the opportunities to share,
we give thanks, O Lord.
For the delight of eating and the challenge of self-denial,
we give thanks, O Lord.
O God, our help, we lift up our hearts for the needs of your people:
to those who continue to be burdened with financial problems,
give strength, O Lord.
To those who have lost their land or livelihood,
who have experienced the pain of displacement,
give hope, O Lord.
To those serving people who are troubled and discouraged,
give wisdom, O Lord.
To those who are strong and have prospered,
give humility, O Lord.
To those seeking to be open to your gifts and calling,
give us grace to be patient in suffering
and sensitive to the pain of others.
Help us to be faithful to that which you have committed to us
so that we may realize your kingdom where we are.
Through Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray,
saying, “Our Father . . .”
[Reformed Worship 14:39]
The Worship Sourcebook, 2nd edition, A.4.4.6

Tune Information

Name
ASH GROVE
Key
F Major or modal
Meter
6.6.11.6.6.11 D

Recordings

Recommended External Arrangements/Resources

Introductions/Descants
Cherwien, David. Triptych on The Ash Grove. Augsburg 11-10971 [1999] (M-D)
Ferguson, John. Hymn Harmonizations for Organ. bk. 3 Ludwig O-10 [1986]
 
Instrument and Organ
 Burkhardt, Michael. Let All Things Now Living. Morningstar MS-20-844-2E [organ and brass quartet]
 
Alternate Harmonizations for Organ
Cherwien, David. Triptych on The Ash Grove. Augsburg 11-10971 [1999] (M-D)
Burkhardt, Michael. As Though the Whole Creation Cried. Morningstar MSM-10-555 [2001]
Ferguson, John. Hymn Harmonizations for Organ. bk. 3 GIA G-6755 [1986]
Fedak, Alfred V. 25 More Harmonizations. Selah 160-729 [1998]
Hobby, Robert A. Let All Things Now Living. Morningstar MSM-10-602-2E
Rawsthorne, Noel. More Last Verses. Kevin Mayhew [1996] (revised)
 
Alternate Harmonizations for Piano
Hopson, Hal H. The Creative Use of the Piano in Worship. Hope 8392 [2008] (E-M; with optional handbells)
 
Recommended Service Music Resources:
Organ
Carlson, J. Bert. A New Look at the Old. Augsburg 11-11009 [1999] (E-M)
Cherwien, David. Triptych on The Ash Grove. Augsburg 11-10971 [1999] (M-D)
Held, Wilbur. Those Wonderful Welsh. set 2 Morningstar MSM-10-842 [1992] (adaptable for piano, E)
Kosche, Kenneth. Musica Sacra: Easy Hymn Preludes for Organ vol. 2. Concordia 97-7015 [2003] (E-M)
Schulz, Christine. Variations on The Ash Grove. Morningstar MSM-10-708 [1995] (M)
Stoldt, Frank. Five Hymn Settings. Morningstar MSM-10-931 [1988] (E-M)
 
Piano
Larkin, Michael. Be Thou My Vision. Morningstar MSM-15-832 [2004] (E-M)
Lund, Emily. Let All Things Now Living. Adoro AMP-70 [2010] (E-M)
 
Handbells
Moklebust, Cathy. Let All Things Now Living. Chorister’s Guild CGB-170 [1995] (3-5 octaves, D)
Morris, Hart. Ash Grove. Beckenhorst HB303 [3-5 octaves level 3+]
 
Instrument and Organ
Callahan, Charles. A Thanksgiving Prelude for Flute and Organ. Morningstar MSM-20-660
 
 
— Norma de Waal Malefyt

Additional External Arrangements/Resources

Congregational Singing Resources:
Introductions/Descants
Burkhardt, Michael. Easy Hymn Settings General set 1.  Morningstar MSM-10-815 [1996]
 
Alternate Harmonizations for Organ
Proulx, Richard. Hymn Intonations Preludes & Free Harmonizations. Vol. VIII Selah 160-728 [1996]
 
Alternate Harmonizations for Piano
Organ, Anne Krentz. Let It Rip! At the Piano. Augsburg 11-11045 [2000]
 
Service Music Resources:
Piano
Maynard, Lynette. Songs for All Seasons. Vol. 2 AugsburgFortress ISBN 0-8006-7786-2 [2005] (E-M)
Organ, Anne Krentz. Reflections on HymnTunes for Holy Communion. AugsburgFortress ISBN 9780800654979
 
Instrument and Organ
Blair, Dallas. Hymn Introductions and Descants for Trumpet and Organ – set 2. Morningstar MSM-20-702 (M)
 
Instrument and Piano
Albrecht, Mark. Three for Piano and Sax. AugsburgFortress ISBN 97808000657970 [1998]
— Norma de Waal Malefyt

Hymn Story/Background

Katherine K. Davis wrote this text for the tune ASH GROVE in the 1920s. The text was first published as an anthem and descant setting in 1939 (by E. C. Schirmer) under the name John Cowley, one of her pseudonyms. (Davis wrote “The Little Drummer Boy,” 1941, as well as many other songs under this and other pseudonyms.)
 
Employing Old Testament images, the text calls forth praise from all creatures and directs that praise to God the Creator. We praise God because he made us and provides for us (st. 1); we join our praise to that of the entire universe in a song of “hosanna and praise” (st. 2).
 
ASH GROVE first appeared in print in the collection Bardic Museum compiled by Edward Jones and published in London in 1802. It has been suggested that the tune is similar to a melody found in the Beggar's Opera (1728), an opera that includes many arrangements of well-known folk tunes. ASH GROVE is, however, a harp tune rather than a folk song, and its associations in Wales are entirely secular.
 
Katherine K. Davis related that she found this tune in the Book of National Songs, a pamphlet published by Novello. She wrote the harmonization and a descant for the tune and published them with her text in 1939 (see above). Since that time the hymn has been a favorite of many church choirs and congregations.
 
ASH GROVE is a classic rounded bar form (AABA). Sing in harmony and add the descant at stanza 2, perhaps also with instruments like flutes or recorders.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Katherine Kennicott Davis (b. St. Joseph, MA, 1892; d. Concord, MA, 1980) studied at Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts, where she was also a teaching assistant in music. From 1921 to 1929 she taught singing and piano in private schools in Concord, Massachusetts, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After 1929 she devoted herself largely to music composition. She wrote some eight hundred pieces, most of which were choral (often writing under several pseudonyms). One of her most popular songs is "The Little Drummer Boy," originally called "Carol of the Drum" (1941). Her other publications include the folk operetta Cinderella (1933) and Songs of Freedom (1948).
 
— Bert Polman
Hymnary.org does not have a score for this hymn.