Lyrics: Carolina W. Sandell-Berg, translated from Swedish to English by Ernst W. Olson.
Music: TRYGGARE KAN INGEN VARA, Swedish melody, arranged by Oskar Ahnfelt.
Theme: Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. I John 3:1.
The View From the Porch: “‘Children of the Heavenly Father’ is a sweet and lovely lullaby that is traditionally heard at Swedish funerals in these parts. When the small family group rose to sing this song as the service started, I knew I was in trouble. I held my own with only my chin trembling, until they sang the last verse… in Swedish. That was it. The tears flowed and it was so beautiful.”
Garrison Keillor: “I once sang the bass line of Children of the Heavenly Father in a room with about three thousand Lutherans in it; and when we finished, we all had tears in our eyes, partly from the promise that God will not forsake us, partly from the proximity of all those lovely voices. By our joining in harmony, we somehow promise that we will not forsake each other.”
Safely in His bosom gather
Nestling bird nor star in heaven
Such a refuge e’er was given
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
Neither life nor death shall ever
From the Lord His children sever
Unto them His grace He showeth
And their sorrows all He knoweth
Though He giveth or He taketh
God His children ne’er forsaketh
His the loving purpose solely
To preserve them pure and holy
Lo their very hairs He numbers
And no daily care encumbers
Them that share His ev’ry blessing
And His help in woes distressing
Praise the Lord in joyful numbers
Your Protector never slumbers
At the will of your Defender
Ev’ry foe man must surrender.
Lina Berg, as she was known to her friends, wrote and published hymn lyrics even as a child. She was a sickly child and at the age of ten had to stay at home while the rest of her family attended the Lutheran church where her father was a pastor. When Lina was twenty-three, she accompanied her father on a boat trip and watched as he fell from the boat and drowned before her eyes.
After that experience, Lina wrote the other hymn for which she is most known in the English-speaking world, Day By Day.
Strength I find to meet my trials here
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best!
Lovingly its part of pain and pleasure
Mingling toil with peace and rest.