You Are Our God; We Are Your People

It rained on the earth forty days, forty nights

Author: David A. Hoekema (1978)
Published in 4 hymnals

Audio files: MIDI, Recording

Author: David A. Hoekema

Born: June 10, 1950, Paterson, New Jersey. Hoekema lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan from age 3, and attended Baxter Christian School (grades 1-7), Oakdale Christian School (grades 8-9), and Grand Rapids Central Christian High School. He went on to attend Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan (BA, Philosophy, 1972), and Princeton University (PhD 1981). As of 2011, he was a Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College. Past member of Musica Alta (Princeton University early music ensemble), Northfield String Band, Calvin Alumni Choir, and Grand Rapids Symphonic Choir; current (2011) member of Adult Choir at Second Christian Reformed Church, Grand Haven, Michigan. He is the composer / author of five hymn texts and four hymn tunes, two of them p… Go to person page >


Scripture References:
st. 1 = Gen. 7, Gen. 9:13-15, 1 Pet. 3:18-22
st. 2 = Gen. 15:5, Gen. 17:1-8, Gen. 21:1-7
st. 3 = Heb. 8
st. 4 = Acts 2:38-3

David A. Hoekema (b. Paterson, NJ, 1950) composed both the text and the tune for this hymn in June 1978 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for the baptism of his daughter Janna, for whom he named the tune. Hoekema states:

One morning in June, while I walked the half-mile up the hill from my home to my office, a spirited little tune hummed its way into my mind, and at the same time some words and ideas that I had toyed with took clearer shape in relation to the tune. During the next week or so I added the harmony – a dissonant but rolling harmony that seemed to fit the tune especially well – and refined the text. I believe that this hymn was a gift given to me to celebrate my daughter's baptism.

Originally titled "Covenant Song," Hoekema's storylike text recounts various points in salvation history when God made covenant promises with his people: to Noah (st. 1; In Gen. 9 and also 1 Pet. 3, where Peter relates the flood story to baptism), to Abraham and Sarah (st. 2), and to us in the new covenant in Christ (st. 3), with baptism the sign of our union with Christ and his body, the people of God (st. 4). This hymn was first published in the 1987 Psalter Hymnal.

Liturgical Use
Infant or adult baptism; in conjunction with preaching on covenant history. Hoekema says it is also fitting after a week of rain!

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook



JANNA is a strong tune built with some repeated phrases and sequences; a unique rhythmic pattern carries this song along resolutely from beginning to end. Sing JANNA in unison with lots of energy on a half-note pulse. This tune also makes a fine solo anthem. Sing stanzas 1 and 2 in antiphonal groups…

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