Very little is known about the origin and circumstances behind the penning of this hymn. Many myths have sprung up over time about the song being one that children and/or soldiers sang during the Crusades, or by German pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem. It first surfaced in print in 1677 in a Jesuit hymn book and has been found in earlier manuscripts as well. Perhaps it is fitting that this hymn stands alone without a story. Nothing is needed to enhance its message–one that’s fully focused on the beauty of Jesus.
The earth is full of beauty. We see it every day, especially as the spring season begins to unfurl. The sun rises and it’s spectacular. The mountains and trees tower above us and stretch their arms heavenward, and they are beautiful. Birds soar, horses run, humpbacks sing and breach out of the depths of the Pacific and they all exude tremendous beauty. All this loveliness that surrounds us begs attentiveness to one thing- the astonishingly beautiful Creator God, from which all creation’s beauty originates. Beauty is only possible because God Himself is the essence of beauty. John Piper says it this way: “God Himself is the absolutely original pattern of all other beauty. Beauty is what God is. His wisdom is beautiful wisdom, His power is beautiful power, His justice is beautiful justice, and His love is beautiful love.”
We all long for beauty. God has put this into our hearts so that we ultimately would crave Him! David tells us that he has a singular desire to behold the beauty of the Lord (Ps 27:4). This same desire is in each of us who are part of God’s kingdom. And this is why we worship and sing to the Lord. We can’t help ourselves! We can’t help but adore the One who is more fair, more glorious and more beautiful than anything in the universe. When we crave the beauty of Christ and worship before Him, this is fulfilling our deepest desire and purpose. This is what we were made to do!
Let’s remember that as we sing this song together this month. We were created to worship. Let’s protect our daily time of worship before the Lord and come to His throne with honor and praise. Let’s commit these lines to memory with our families and praise our beautiful Savior together.
You may or may not be familiar with this hymn. Either way, we invite you to spend this month meditating on its truths. To get you started, we’ve provided free printables for downloading and loads of fresh versions on our YouTube channel that you can sing along with!
If you are new to this community, welcome! It is a great time to join in and make family worship a priority if you haven’t already. You are encouraged to gather up your families, for just a few minutes each day, to sing, discuss and memorize this hymn (hopefully in addition to reading the Scriptures and prayer) whether it is first thing in the morning, or around the dinner table or before bedtime – whatever works best for your family. By the end of March, you are encouraged to post either a video or a photo on Instagram inspired by the song. Every time you post, you are entered into a drawing for a little something special. Just tag it with #hymnofthemonth. As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! God bless you all this month as you worship together as a family! 💛, April