God, the Father of Your People

Author (st. 2): John Newton

Newton, John, who was born in London, July 24, 1725, and died there Dec. 21, 1807, occupied an unique position among the founders of the Evangelical School, due as much to the romance of his young life and the striking history of his conversion, as to his force of character. His mother, a pious Dissenter, stored his childish mind with Scripture, but died when he was seven years old. At the age of eleven, after two years' schooling, during which he learned the rudiments of Latin, he went to sea with his father. His life at sea teems with wonderful escapes, vivid dreams, and sailor recklessness. He grew into an abandoned and godless sailor. The religious fits of his boyhood changed into settled infidelity, through the study of Shaftesbury and… Go to person page >

Author (st. 1): Alfred E. Mulder

(no biographical information available about Alfred E. Mulder.) Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: God, the Father of your people
Title: God, the Father of Your People
Author (st. 1): Alfred E. Mulder (1978)
Author (st. 2): John Newton (1779)
Meter: D
Language: English
Copyright: st. 1 © 1987, CRC Publications


Scripture References:
st. 2 = 2 Cor. 13:14

This hymn is unusual because two different and very short hymn texts, written two centuries apart, were combined to form a composite text. Both contain the themes of parting, peace, and unity. Stanza 1 is a prayer that God's people may be one body as they serve and witness. Stanza 2 is borrowed in part from 2 Corinthians 13: 14; it invokes a blessing on all God's people.

Alfred E. Mulder (b. Ireton, IA, 1936) wrote stanza 1 in 1978, during his days as a minister among the Navajo and Zuni people, as a versification of the ministry statement of Bethany Christian Reformed Church, Gallup, New Mexico. Mulder received his education at Calvin College and Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and studied counseling at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Ordained a pastor in the Christian Reformed Church, he served congregations in Luctor, Kansas (1960-1964), and Brigham City, Utah (1964-1968), and was a missionary pastor in Gallup, New Mexico (1968-1984). Since 1984 he has held the position of director of new church development for Christian Reformed Home Missions.

John Newton (PHH 462) wrote the text of stanza 2. It was one of his "short hymns," first published in Olney Hymns (1779) in a section entitled "After Sermon."

Liturgical Use:
Just prior to a spoken benediction; at the close of worship (the spoken benediction should be some blessing other than the familiar apostolic form; instead use the Aaronic blessing from Numbers 6:24-26); an appropriate blessing on a marriage, with the following changes: "us" to "them," "we" to "they," and in the last line of stanza 1-"as one body we will serve you" to "as one body let them serve you" (or the bridal couple could sing stanza 1, and the congregation, stanza 2).

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook



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Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #322


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