Although Christendom is inundated with hymnbooks they all - without exception - share one glaring omission: no place for God’s animal kingdom. Admittedly there are two hymns which bring in the whole of the Creation: ‘All things bright and beautiful’ and ‘All Creatures of our God and King’. In both these delightful hymns animals are mentioned along with inanimate forces; hardly a compliment to animals endowed by their Creator with the breath of life!
Well, the purpose of this compilation is to fill this inexcusable omission of Christendom. The God of Biblical Revelation has the whole world in his hands. Within his Ark of Salvation all forms of life are precious. His salvation covers both man and beast. We are no more an elect species than Judaism was an elect race.
In the original Paradise the birds and beasts dwelt alongside the original human couple in peace and tranquillity. And whereas the whole of Creation has been blighted and seriously affected by the ‘fa11 from grace’ of Adam, it was the concept of the later prophets - through the coming of that greater Adam: the Messiah (the Christ) that a far greater Paradise would one day be restored than the one that was lost.
This greater Paradise in which the meek will inherit the Earth is surely what congregations should be envisaging when they pray: “Thy Kingdom come”! One can only affirm that whereas churches piously pray for its coming the Animal Activist Movement, conscious of the fact or otherwise, practica1ly paves the way for its inauguration.
If hymns had been sung, prayers offered and sermons preached on the need of Christians to protect weaker forms of life committed to their charge, then this World would be a living Utopia today. Instead, after two thousand years of Church teaching, it remains a blood bath.
The contributors to this compilation come from a true cross section of Christian expression and culture. These hymns are by sincere, humble, animal caring Christians. But I ask: how could a true Christian be otherwise?
It is our hope that one day Christendom will lose its shrivelled concept of divine love being confined to humans and will recapture a little of the spirit of' a. St Francis of Assisi, an Isaiah or a John the divine.
The copyright which covers all these hymns is solely so that the composer’s name always goes with what she or he has written, and that .the words remain as written, when photo-copied or otherwise used and taken from this book. It is hoped that they will be given exceedingly wide usage and possibly even trickle into major denominational hymnals. The age of miracles has by no means past! But what is more, these hymns are of high literary standard as well.
No royalties are forthcoming to any of these gifted writers. Each contribution included is the fruit of deep, selfless love and. concern as befits those who worship a God who was born amongst the animals; the announcement of whose birth was singled out to animal carers; and who himself fulfilled the role of an. Animal, the lamb of God, to portray His mission. He is equally referred to as the Good Shepherd: One who not only saved and secured sheep from danger but carried lambs next to His heart as He gently led the ewes that were with young.
It: is not without significance that same of His twenty first century followers (well almost 21st!) should be laying their lives down before lorries of both sheep and calves, so as to block the diabolic export of these docile innocent creatures from a horrendous fate abroad.
To the whole of the Animal Activist and Welfare Movements we dedicate this selection of hymns. God Bless each one of you and keep up the good work. God and goodness are on your side.
© James Thompson
The Animal’s Padre
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