In Our Households, Heavenly Father

Scripture References

Thematically related:

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

This song focuses on the home, family, and marriage, a topic with helpful references in the confessions. Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 46, testifies to the implications of living as “the family of God.”


Our Song of Hope, stanza 13 calls God’s children to be “stewards of marriage with its lifelong commitment to love...”


In Our Households, Heavenly Father

Tune Information

d minor



In Our Households, Heavenly Father

Hymn Story/Background

Marie J. Post wrote this text for publication in the 1974 Psalter Hymnal Supplement. It was written to fill a gap in the 1959 Psalter Hymnal, which contained very few hymns with an emphasis on home and family. The 1987 Psalter Hymnal includes stanzas 1-3 of the original text.
"In Our Households" is a prayer for love, peace, joy, and charity in the home; for obedience to divine discipline; and a life of hospitality and service. Because this prayer seemed to focus mainly on married people, Rolf Bouma added a new third stanza in 1991 when he was pastor of Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan, to acknowledge the increasing number of single adults and parents who also form households. This stanza appears in Lift Up Your Hearts
— Bert Polman

In 1888, Samuel Cohen composed a melody based on a Romanian folk song which “fit Hatikva [a poem by Naftali Herz Imber, a Galician poet who immigrated to Ottoman Palestine] like a glove,” Israeli musicologist Dr. Natan Shahar told The Times of Israel.
Cohen likely adapted his tune from a nostalgic Romanian ditty called Carul cu boi, which translates as “Cart with Oxen.” This melody, in turn, was a modification of a 17th century Italian composition by Gasparo Zanetti called La Mantovana. (La Mantovana was also modified, a few years before Cohen, by Czech composer Bedrich Smetana in his piece Die Moldau, whose central theme bears striking similarity to Hatikva’s melody.)
Variants on La Mantovana’s theme proliferated throughout Eastern Europe at the time, Shahar explained, and its familiarity to Eastern European immigrants helped promulgate Cohen’s melody. It was simple and familiar; new immigrants had only to learn the lyrics.
-Ilan Ben Zion, Times of Israel, “How an unwieldy romantic poem and a Romanian folk song combined to produce ‘Hatikva’, April 16, 2013
— Ilan Ben Zion

Author Information

Marie (Tuinstra) Post (b. Jenison, MI, 1919; d. Grand Rapids, MI, 1990) versified this psalm in 1983 for the Psalter Hymnal 1987. While attending Dutch church services as a child, Post was first introduced to the Genevan psalms, which influenced her later writings. She attended Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she studied with Henry Zylstra. From 1940 to 1942 she taught at the Muskegon Christian Junior High School. For over thirty years Post wrote poetry for the Grand Rapids Press and various church periodicals. She gave many readings of her poetry in churches and schools and has been published in a number of journals and poetry anthologies. Two important collections of her poems are I Never Visited an Artist Before (1977) and the posthumous Sandals, Sails, and Saints (1993). A member of the 1987 Psalter Hymnal Revision Committee, Post was a significant contribu­tor to its array of original texts and paraphrases.
— Bert Polman

Rolf Bouma is the Pastor for Academic Ministries at the Campus Chapel and directs the Center for Faith & Scholarship, a Christian study center at the University of Michigan.  He received his Ph.D. from Boston University in the field of Systematic Theology. In addition to thesis work on biotechnology and a theology of nature, he also has been extensively involved in science and religion dialogue.  Rolf teaches environmental ethics and environmental values/public policy as part of the University of Michigan’s Program in the Environment. He has taught theology at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Rolf also holds M.Div. and Th.M. degrees from Calvin Theological Seminary and has served congregations in Grand Rapids (Eastern Avenue CRC) and Boston (Hope CRC, Framingham, MA). He also obtained a J.D. degree from the University of Michigan Law School (1982). His wife, Sandra, is a nutrition specialist at the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. They have three children: Dietrich, Lindsey, and Jalen.
— Campus Chapel Staff Bio (http://www.campuschapel.org/about-us/our-staff/rolf-bauma/)

Composer Information

Hal H. Hopson (b. Texas, 1933) is a prolific composer, arranger, clinician, teacher and promoter of congregational song, with more than 1300 published works, especially of hymn and psalm arrangements, choir anthems, and creative ideas for choral and organ music in worship. Born in Texas, with degrees from Baylor University (BA, 1954), and Southern Baptist Seminary (MSM, 1956), he served churches in Nashville, TN, and most recently at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas. He has served on national boards of the Presbyterian Association of Musicians and the Choristers Guild, and taught numerous workshops at various national conferences. In 2009, a collection of sixty four of his hymn tunes were published in Hymns for Our Time: The Collected Tunes of Hal H. Hopson.
— Emily Brink
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