Sacred Music: A Tiny, Lovely Hymn We Never Sing

night sky with stars

I had never heard this hymn until my last two months as a missionary in Brazil.

Os Teus Filhos Pai Celeste.

Or: Children of Our Heavenly Father.

My final companion chose it out of our pocket hymnal to sing at a church member’s home. I tripped over the tune and unfamiliar words, but loved the song enough that I asked her to sing it with me every time we had occasion to sing for other people:

The tune is Swedish, the original lyrics written by a Lutheran poet named Caroline V. Sandell-Berg.

I say we never sing it because I’ve never heard it sung in any of the LDS congregations I’ve visited in various places around the world. But it may be popular in Sweden. And it’s known and loved in other non-Mormon religious communities.

Enjoy:

In “Singing with the Lutherans,” Garrison Keillor said of this song:

“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.”

Here are the lyrics, in English, Swedish, and the Portuguese I first heard the song in:

Children of Our Heav’nly Father

Children of our Heav’nly Father
Safely in his bosom gather;
Nestling bird nor star in heaven
Such a refuge e’er was given.

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.

Tryggare Kan Ingen Vara

Tryggare kan ingen vara,
Än Guds lilla barnaskara,
Stjärnan ej på himläfastet,
Fågeln ej i kända nästet.

Herren sina trogna vårdar
Uti Sions helga gårdar,
Över dem Han sig förbarmar,
Bär dem uppå fadersarmar.

Ingen nöd och ingen kycka,
Skall utur Hans hand dem rycka,
Han vår vän för andra vänner,
Sina barns bekymmer känner.

Se Han räknar håren alla,
Som från deras huvud falla,
Han oss föder och oss kläder,
Under sorgen Harm oss gläder.

Os Teus Filhos, Pai Celeste

Os teus filhos, Pai celeste, Nos teus
braços têm abrigo. Nem as aves, nem os
astros, tal refúgio têm contigo.

Nem a vida, nem a morte, do a-
mor de Deus separam. Os que sentem sua graça
E nas dores ele ampara.

Deus nos dando ou nos tirando, sempre atende
a nossa prece. Quer-nos santos sempre
puros, de seus filhos não esquece.

(Image by John Towner)

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1 Response

  1. Patty says:

    Oh, I love this song, too. I think I read a reference to it in a story. We sing it rarely, but I have sung it. Thanks for sharing! We need to sing it more. It reminds me of “For the Beauty of the Earth, ” another hymn that is simple but profound and lovely.

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