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‘I, The Lord of Sea and Sky (Here I Am, Lord)’ picked as favourite hymn that ‘celebrates the joy of creation’

13 December 2023

A poll carried out by the aid agency CAFOD has found the most popular hymn that celebrates the joy of creation is ‘I, The Lord of Sea and Sky (Here I Am, Lord)’.

As COP28 draws to a close and pressure mounts for negotiators to deliver an ambitious final agreement, we are inspired by and echo Pope Francis’ address to COP28, in which he urged leaders to ensure the UN climate talks are a "turning point" in the fight against the climate crisis.

‘I, The Lord of Sea and Sky (Here I Am, Lord)’ was picked as the favourite hymn, with the runners up being ‘Morning has Broken’, ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ and ‘For the Beauty of the Earth’.

Many of the hymns in the shortlist have been covered by well-known artists such as Cat Stevens’ popular ‘Morning Has Broken’ with piano arranged and performed by Rick Wakeman which led to international recognition of the hymn. The composer John Rutter has also written popular versions of ‘For the Beauty of the Earth’ and ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’.

CAFOD’s Head of Fundraising and Participation, Jo Kitterick, said:

“The first hymns many of us learnt as children are about celebrating the joy of creation, and about giving thanks for the beauty of the natural world, from flowers and birds to hills and skies. Listening to, or singing hymns, helps us to appreciate the beautiful world in which we live, and reminds us all that we must protect it from harm.

“At COP28 Pope Francis warned that the destruction of the environment “is an offence against God” which is also endangering all human beings, “especially the most vulnerable in our midst”. The opening line of the winning hymn, ‘Here I am, Lord’ echoes Pope Francis’ call for people to protect the Earth, our common home, and hear both the cry of the land and the cry of the poor: ‘I, the Lord of sea and sky, I have heard my people cry.’

“Communities CAFOD works with across the world experience the terrible consequences of climate change right now - from floods in Bangladesh and Pakistan, to the catastrophic drought in the Horn of Africa. Human-induced climate change is destroying lives and livelihoods, forcing people to flee their homes, and wiping out whole ecosystems.

“By singing hymns and saying prayers we can stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are facing these challenging times and who are doing all they can to protect our common home. Together we can share hope in restoring the beauty of the world.”

Over 750 people voted in the poll carried out by CAFOD. After an initial vote on Facebook to narrow down the list of hymns from 8 to 4, the final results were:

  1. I, The Lord of Sea and Sky (Here I Am, Lord) - 51%

  2. Morning has Broken - 22%

  3. All Things Bright and Beautiful - 14%

  4. For the Beauty of the Earth - 13%

‘Here I Am, Lord’, also known as ‘I, the Lord of Sea and Sky’ after its opening line, is a Christian hymn written by the American composer of Catholic liturgical music Dan Schutte in 1979 and published in 1981.

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