"Be Praised O God" began as a poem in the form of a prayer. Some time after I wrote it I used it as a benediction at an American Guild of Organists meeting. Afterward one of the church music directors came rushing up and asked where the piece came from. When I said it was mine, she asked if she could set it to music, which she did.
It then came to the attention of Hinshaw Music, a leading publisher of church music. Henshaw arranged for it to be set to music by Paul Leddington Wright of England's historic Covington Cathedral. The sheet music is still in Hinshaw's catalog.
Be praised, O God,
by all that fills the temple
of your world.
By colors written on the hymnal
of the sky. By grains and fruit-filled trees
that bow their heads to you. By fishes,
swimming their praise.
By choirs of birds, flying
By the preaching of
the laughter of children
and the uncounted offering of
stars and planets.
By the steeples of the trees, lifted
to heaven. By the
ushering of seasons, and by all
the shores on which the waves
wash up their tears of
By vespers of lakes, sileni
in meditation. By babies born new
like the dawn. By the altars of all tables
spread with food.
By the crosses of our
low estate, and the winecups of our
griefs. By the bread-loaves of our sturdiest
dreams, and the candles of our
hope in you, burned
bright by love.
By death itself,
your benediction on our litany of
years. Until we give you