23

Children of the Heavenly Father

Scripture References

Thematically related:

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

This familiar and well-loved hymn has several important truths embedded in it. First, God’s children are created by God and receive their life from him. This is affirmed in Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 11: “Life is God’s gift to us…”
 
These children, as well as adults, belong to God, a truth affirmed in the sacrament of infant baptism and professed in confessional statements such as Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 27, Question and Answer 74: “Infants as well as adults are included in God’s covenant…” This comforting truth is also professed in Our Song of Hope, stanza 20: “Christ’s hand reaches out…to infants who live in the atmosphere of faith.”
 
Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 10, Question and Answer 28 says that God will always protect and preserve his children: “All creatures are so completely in God’s hand that without his will they can neither move nor be moved.”

Tune Information

Name
TRYGGARE KAN INGEN VARA
Key
D Major
Meter
8.8.8.8

Recordings

Song Combination

Consider using Lift Up Your Hearts #23 “Children of the Heavenly Father,” #24 “Affirmation: God as Creator and Provider” and #25 “God Moves in a Mysterious Way” together in a medley.
  • Begin by singing #23 “Children of the Heavenly Father”—use an appropriate accompaniment for the words of this delicate prayer with instruments such as piano, guitar, flute, soft organ, etc.
  • The piano can continue to play softly in the background as #24 “Affirmation: God as Creator and Provider” is read, transition to the key of E♭ and play #25 “God Moves in a Mysterious Way” softly as the Affirmation is finished. Lead into the singing of #25 “God Moves in a Mysterious Way” with a stronger accompaniment (louder organ, stronger piano, or whatever is available and being used). 
— Diane Dykgraaf

Hymn Story/Background

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 and guitar. It is well suited to part singing and could be sung unaccompanied.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

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."
 
"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.
 
Ernst W. Olson (b. Skane, Sweden, 1870; d. Chicago, IL, 1958) prepared the English translation for the 1925 Hymnal of the Lutheran Augustana Synod. 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).
— Bert Polman
Hymnary.org does not have a score for this hymn.