Thursday, July 12, 2012

Children of the Heavenly Father

This one is for my Mother, Jill,
Hymn Title: Children of the Heavenly Father

Tune: Tryggare Kan Ingen Vara (Swedish Folk Song)

Meter: Long Meter (8, 8, 8, 8)

     This traditional hymn was written by a women named Caroline V. Sandell Berg (1832-1903). Growing up, most people knew Caroline (Karolina in Swedish) as Lina, when she was a member of a there Pietist wing of Swedish Lutherans. Throughout her years growing up, she grew to be very close with her father who was a minister. Her father was adamant about Lina growing up with an education far beyond what was typically expected out of women in that given time. Lina began writing poems early on in her life when she would write for Sunday school classes. Over her short life time Lina is said to have written over 1,700 different texts. Her most famous text, however, is still Children of the Heavenly Father.
     There are two different takes on when this hymn was actually written, but between many different sources, it was about 50/50 for which story was actually true. The first story was that Lina was such a "Daddy's Girl," that she wrote the hymn to honor her father and to say thank you to him for raising her and protecting her. The second story presents a potentially accurate take on when the hymn was written as well, but it does take a bit of a darker tone. When Lina was at the age of 26 (1858), her life quickly became filled with adversity. Her year started off with a few of her distant relatives falling ill to numerous different diseases and eventually passing away. Still, none of those deaths would shake her foundation nearly as much as the death of her Father did. Lina and her Father were said to have been on a boat, when the boat suddenly lurched forward because of a wave throwing her father over board. Before anyone was able to lead a rescue out to her Father, it was too late. It was said that the profound effect that watching her Father drown was what caused Lina to write the text to this hymn.
     Regardless of how the text came about, it wasn't until 1925 that the text was actually translated from the original Swedish into the English Lutheran version by a man named Ernst W. Olson.

The Hymn:
(1) Children of the heav’nly Father
Safely in His bosom gather;
Nestling bird nor star in Heaven
Such a refuge e’er was given.

(2) God His own doth tend and nourish;
In His holy courts they flourish;
From all evil things He spares them;
In His mighty arms He bears them.

(3) Neither life nor death shall ever
From the Lord His children sever;
Unto them His grace He showeth,
And their sorrows all He knoweth.

(4) Though He giveth or He taketh,
God His children ne’er forsaketh;
His the loving purpose solely
To preserve them pure and holy.

(5) Lo, their very hairs He numbers,
And no daily care encumbers
Them that share His ev’ry blessing
And His help in woes distressing.

(6) Praise the Lord in joyful numbers:
Your Protector never slumbers.
At the will of your Defender
Ev’ry foeman must surrender.

The Hymn:

My Take On The Hymn:

     This hymn seems to have come at a great time for me. When things get hard, it is easy to forget that we have people around us who love us unconditionally. When we are at a low point it is very easy (at least it is for me) to say that I am alone in this and I have no one else, but its not true. No matter what we have going on in our lives, God is there with us. God sometimes has to give us tough love, he isn't always subtle about telling his children when they are headed down the wrong path, but as it is stated in verse four, his only goal is to keep us safe and to keep us in his love. God loves us no matter what, just like our parents do on Earth. Although I may not always see eye-to-eye on things with my Mother, I know she loves me no matter what, and for that I am forever thankful.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for giving us both theories about the occasion for this hymn. In any case, the hymn offers true doctrine and pastoral wisdom. I especially appreciate your providing a recording with each hymn you expound. Your blog is a blessing for God's people.