If the name St. Francis of Assisi is mentioned, most would be reminded of stories or documentaries and movies about him. Over the years, it has become difficult to separate truth from fiction in the many accounts of his life. We know that he was born in 1182, the son of a rich merchant in central Italy. After a meager education, he joined the army and was captured in war. He made a commitment to Jesus Christ shortly after his release and renounced his wealth. He began travelling about the countryside, preaching the gospel... living simply and seeking to make Christ real to everyone he met.
He loved nature and there are many stories that spotlight his interaction with animals in which he would remind them that they should praise God, who provided for all their needs. It is said the animals seemed to listen and then rejoice!
With this perspective in mind, and his understanding of Psalm 148, St. Francis composed this hymn just before he died in 1225. He called it, “Song of Brother Sun”, now known as “All Creatures of our God & King”. It was almost 700 years later in 1919, that Rev. William Draper translated it into English to use it for children’s worship in Leeds, England.