440. Children of the Heavenly Father

Text Information
First Line: Children of the heavenly Father
Title: Children of the Heavenly Father
Original Language: Swedish
Author: Caroline V. Sandell Berg (1855)
Translator: Ernest W. Olson (1925, alt.)
Meter: LM
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Scripture: ; ; ;
Topic: Funerals; Songs for Children: Hymns; Creation and Providence (3 more...)
Copyright: Text © 1978, Board of Publication of the Lutheran Church in America. Used by permission
Tune Information
Meter: LM
Key: D Major
Source: Swedish folk melody

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1-2 = Psalm 84
st. 3 = Rom. 8:38-39
st. 4 = Job 1:21

The author of this text, Caroline W. Sandell Berg (b. Froderyd, Sweden, 1832; d. Stockholm, Sweden, 1903), is better known as Lina Sandell, the "Fanny Crosby of Sweden." Originally in Swedish ("Tryggare kan ingen vara"), the text was first published in Sandell-Berg's Andeliga daggdroppar (1855). Ernst W. Olson (b. Skane, Sweden, 1870; d. Chicago, IL, 1958) prepared the English translation for the 1925 Hymnal of the Lutheran Augustana Synod.

The four-stanza text is a confession of humble but confident trust in God's providence in the lives of his people. It reflects Lord's Day 1 of the Heidelberg Catechism¬–“in life and in death I belong to my faithful Savior.”

"Lina" Wilhelmina Sandell Berg was the daughter of a Lutheran pastor to whom she was very close; she wrote hymns partly to cope with the fact that she witnessed his tragic death by drowning. Many of her 650 hymns were used in the revival services of Carl O. Rosenius, and a number of them gained popularity particularly because of the musical settings written by gospel singer Oskar Ahnfelt. Jenny Lind, the famous Swedish soprano, underwrote the cost of publishing a collection of Ahnfelt's music, Andeliga Sänger (1850), which consisted mainly of Berg's hymn texts.

As editor, writer, poet, and translator, Olson made a valuable contribution to Swedish-American culture and to church music. His family immigrated to Nebraska when he was five years old, but he spent much of his life in the Chicago area. Educated at Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois, he was editor of several Swedish-American., newspapers and spent most of his professional career as an editor for the Augustana , Book Concern (1911-1949). Olson wrote A History of the Swedes in Illinois (1908). He also contributed four original hymns and twenty-eight translations to The Hymnal (1925) of the Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Synod and served on the committee that produced the Lutheran Service Book and Hymnal (1958).

Liturgical Use:
As a confession of faith in God's providence; for many other occasions, including baptisms or funerals.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

First associated with this text in Fredrik Engelke's Loftangeroch andeliga wisor (1873), TRYGGARE KAN INGEN VARA is probably a Swedish folk song, but versions of the tune were also sung in Germany in the early 1800s.

This charmingly simple tune needs light accompaniment, perhaps just recorders 1 and guitars. It is well suited to part singing and could be sung unaccompanied.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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