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.
Source: Christian Worship: Hymnal #502
|First Line:||Children of the heavenly Father|
|Title:||Children of the Heavenly Father|
|Swedish Title:||Tryggare kan ingen vara|
|Author:||Carolina Sandell (1855)|
|Translator:||Ernst W. Olson|
|Liturgical Use:||Scripture Songs|
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).
As a confession of faith in God's providence; for many other occasions, including baptisms or funerals.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook
The text of this hymn was written by written by Lina Sandell-Berg, a Swedish Gospel hymn writer. Sandell-Berg found inspiration for many of her hymns in the tragic death of her father, which she was unfortunate enough to witness. There seems to be little doubt that “Children of the Heavenly Father,” was one of these tragedy-inspired hymns. It reassures the people that there is an eternal father who can never be taken from us in life or death—a father that comforts, protects, tends and nourishes unceasingly.
The tune for this hymn is called TRYGGARE KAN INGEN VARA. The exact composer is unknown, but the tune is probably a Swedish folk song— although variations on the tune are known to have been in Germany in the early 1800’s. One nice feature of this tune is that it requires little or no accompaniment, and works well for part-singing.
Although this hymn fits well into many occasions, it might especially be suited funerals due to its comforting and reassuring words. This is a gentle, flowing hymn meant to soothe and provide comfort. It should not be rushed through, but should instead focus on the words.
Suggested music for this hymn:
Luke Getz Hymnary.org