This hymn became intensely vivid for me when I read one of the scriptures in its footnotes:
D&C 128:23–Let the mountains shout for joy, and all ye valleys cry aloud; and all ye seas and dry lands tell the wonders of your Eternal King! And ye rivers, and brooks, and rills, flow down with gladness. Let the woods and all the trees of the field praise the Lord; and ye solid rocks weep for joy! And let the sun, moon, and the morning stars sing together, and let all the sons of God shout for joy! And let the eternal creations declare his name forever and ever! And again I say, how glorious is the voice we hear from heaven, proclaiming in our ears, glory, and salvation, and honor, and immortality, and eternal life; kingdoms, principalities, and powers!
Upon reading this verse, I saw this hymn as more than just a reverent form of praise to be sung by solemn church-goers lining pews in their Sunday best. Instead, it is a majestic tribute to the “Great King of Heaven” to be voiced not only out in mountains, valleys, and all His other creations, but by all his other creations. Indeed, upon closer inspection of the hymn’s lyrics, they specifically say that “The vales exult, the hills acclaim, / And all thy works revere thy name.”
To think of mountains shouting for joy, rivers flowing with gladness, and rocks weeping for joy creates a beautiful image, but let’s continue the personification. Mountains can crumble, rivers can dry up, and even rocks can be broken apart. However, not once in this hymn, nor in the scripture with which it is associated, do any of God’s creations ask for protection, comfort, or healing. They don’t plead to be more comfortable or beautiful. They simply acknowledge and praise their creator.
As we sing this hymn, it suggests that we are joining the throng already praising the Lord. Can we do it with the humility shown by his other creations? While it is perfectly acceptable, and even commanded, that we ask the Lord for His blessings, are we able to occasionally set aside our personal requests and acknowledge the infinite blessings we have already been given? I know that I, personally, feel like I am always in need of something, and it’s hard not to focus on what I believe to be my needs. However, I think these times of simple gratitude help us to remember our Creator, our Heavenly Father, and that he knows what we need even better than we do.
It is not for His benefit that we acknowledge our God. He is all-powerful and all-knowing, and that won’t change because we were stubborn. Instead, we are asked to show gratitude for our own good. By setting aside even our righteous desires for a short time, we show humility, gratitude, and a willingness to accept His will.
As we continue to pray to our Heavenly Father and ask for His blessings, let us remember to set aside time to simply join “With myriad echoes, prais[ing] the Lord.”