For the fruits of His Creation

also published as
For the fruit of all creation 

with EAST ACKLAM


Fig. 1. Methodist Recorder, 6 August 1970, p. 13. Text ©1970 Hope Publishing Company.

Text. The story behind this hymn was recounted in The Hymns and Ballads of Fred Pratt Green (1982), p. 29:

It is hard for a even a very good tune to replace an established one. Francis Jackson’s splendid tune EAST ACKLAM was written in 1957 for the hymn “God that madest earth and heaven,” [by Reginald Heber,] as an alternative to the Welsh folksong AR HYD Y NOS. Some years later, at a conference of the Methodist Church Music Society, the composer played a recording of it, which made a great impression and led to a suggestion from John Wilson that Fred should give it a new text, preferably on a harvest theme where new hymns were badly needed. Harvest Hymn appeared in the Methodist Recorder in August 1970.

More precisely, the first printing was in the 6 August 1970 issue of the Methodist Recorder, page 13, in three stanzas of five lines, without music, but with recommendations for both EAST ACKLAM and AR HYD Y NOS (Fig. 1). The following year, Fred Pratt Green’s text was printed together with EAST ACKLAM in Green’s 26 Hymns (London: Epworth, 1971 | Fig. 3 below). The first appearance of this text in a hymnal was in the Catholic collection Praise the Lord (London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1972), also with EAST ACKLAM.

In its original form, the text used the term “men” generically to refer to all people, but when this hymn was adopted into the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), the editors changed this to the pronoun “we” to better reflect the changing preference toward inclusive language. Green adopted this change into his own collections. The Lutheran Book of Worship also changed the first line to read “For the fruit of all creation.” This change has been adopted by other hymnal compilers, but it was not adopted by Green as his official text.

Hymnologist Carl Daw has nicely summarized the main ideas of the text:

The first stanza reads like a fairly conventional seasonal text, punctuated by the refrain, “Thanks be to God.” The ingathering tone customary in harvest hymns takes a new direction in the second stanza, however, as the emphasis moves to the sharing of harvests, rather than the hoarding of them. The harvest theme finally moves from the literal to the metaphorical in the third stanza, which celebrates “harvests of the Spirit” manifest in unearned good, astounding wonders, confounding truths, and boundless love.[1]

Daw also noted the skill involved in writing the unusual rhyme scheme, aabbb, with double rhymes at the end of each line.

Tune 1. Green’s text was intended for EAST ACKLAM, written by Francis Jackson in 1957 and first published in the Methodist Hymns and Songs (London: Methodist Publishing House, 1969 | Fig. 2), where it was set to “Through the love of God our Saviour” by Mary Peters (1813–1856). East Acklam is the name of the village where the composer lived.

 

Fig. 2. Hymns and Songs (London: Methodist Publishing House, 1969), excerpt. Tune ©1960 Francis Jackson.

 

Green’s text was first printed together with Jackson’s tune in Green’s collection 26 Hymns (1971 | Fig. 3).

 

Fig. 3. Fred Pratt Green, 26 Hymns (London: Epworth, 1971), excerpt. Text ©1970 Hope Publishing Co., tune ©1960 Francis Jackson.

 

Tune 2. In spite of the original plan of using Fred Pratt Green’s text as a vehicle for Jackson’s EAST ACKLAM tune, Green’s text has been commonly set to the Welsh tune AR HYD Y NOS, starting as early as 1983 in the Methodist Hymns and Psalms, where it appeared with both tunes as mutual options. For more on the history of AR HYD Y NOS, see the article “God that madest earth and heaven.”


Footnotes:

  1. Carl P. Daw Jr. “For the fruit of all creation,” Glory to God: A Companion (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2016), p. 39.

Related Resources:

“Harvest Hymn,” The Hymns and Ballads of Fred Pratt Green, with commentary by Bernard Braley (Carol Stream, IL: Hope Publishing Co., 1982), pp. 28-29.

“For the fruits of His creation,” Companion to Hymns and Psalms, ed. Richard Watson & Kenneth Trickett (Peterborough: Methodist Publishing House, 1988), pp. 220-221.

“For the fruits of his creation,” Companion to Church Hymnal, ed. Edward Darling & Donald Davison (Dublin: Columba Press, 2005), pp. 94-95.

Paul Westermeyer, “For the fruit of all creation,” Companion to Evangelical Lutheran Worship (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2010), p. 533.

Maureen Harris, “For the fruits of His creation,” Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology:
http://www.hymnology.co.uk/f/for-the-fruits-of-his-creation

“For the fruits of His creation,” Hymnary.org:
https://hymnary.org/text/for_the_fruit_of_all_creation