All Creatures

The more fully we embrace our identity as sons and daughters of an eternal Creator, the more of a connection we feel with His other creations. That is why the second great commandment follows so naturally from the first. (See Matthew 22:37-40.) That is also why the sons of Mosiah, after being miraculously converted to the gospel, “were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature” (Mosiah 28:3).

This feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood with all of God’s children leads us to empathize with them and to respect them. But our affinity with God’s creations can go far beyond other people. I think it’s significant that the sons of Mosiah, shared their newfound reverence and love for God, beginning with “the creation of the world” (Alma 18:28-36, Alma 22:10-13). We are children of that God who created all things, and our feeling for all of His creations is a reflection of our feelings toward Him.

Psalm 148 captures this sentiment beautifully through a striking rhetorical device. As we read or sing this psalm, we call upon all of God’s creations to join us in praising Him. The psalm follows a similar sequence to the creation story in Genesis 1-2:

Psalm 148 urges all of God’s creations to praise Him. The author calls out to them in roughly the order they were created:

  • The heavens (v. 1-2)
  • Sun, moon, and stars (v. 3)
  • Clouds in the sky (v. 4)
  • The ocean and the land (v. 7-8)
  • Plants (v. 9)
  • Animals (v. 10)
  • People (v. 11)

The psalm opens with and continuously reiterates the call: “Praise ye the Lord,” (or in the original Hebrew: Alleluia). There’s a tremendous sense of unity in the image of all of God’s creations expressing gratitude and love to Him together.

This psalm has been the inspiration for many hymns and poems. St. Francis of Assisi wrote a poem based on this psalm called “Canticle of the Creatures,” from which the hymn “All Creatures of our God and King” was derived. Gustav Holst composed an arrangement of this hymn, using a different set of words, also derived from the psalm. I hope you enjoy this performance of Holst’s “Psalm 148,” by the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square:

Today, I will reconnect with nature. I will be grateful for my identity as a child of God and for the connection that gives me with all of His creations.

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