Author Susan Palo Cherwien wrote this about this text, as found in O Blessed Spring: Hymns of Susan Palo Cherwien (Augsburg Fortress, 1997):
Above the baptismal font at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Minneapolis [where she was a member and her husband, David, was director of music], hangs a bronze sculpture by Paul Granlund titled LIFE-TREE. This hymn was shaped by the seasons of life portrayed in the sculpture and was written for the baptismal life of Good Shepherd Parish. It is based on the scripture verse Granlund chose: “I am the vine, you are the branches.” (John 15:5).
Paul Westermeyer commented on how “an artist in one form (sculpture) stimulated an artist in another art form (poetry). The tune the author had in mind when she wrote this text was O WALY WALY, but the text stimulated a tune by another composer—a tune the author now considers ‘the perfect melody for this text.’ (Hymnal Companion to Evangelical Lutheran Worshop, p. 271).
The tune BERGLAND by Robert Farlee was named for his mother’s family, and first published as an anthem in 1994.
Susan Palo Cherwien (b. 1953) was born in Ohio, began writing poetry as a child, and graduated from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, in 1975, where she studied church music and voice. She had spent her junior year in Germany for further study and returned there from 1976-1981. Later, she studied spirituality, ritual and the arts at Mundelein College in Chicago, receiving a degree there in 1993. She began writing hymns in 1987; a collection of twenty-seven of her texts with music and commentary were published in 1997 by Augsburg Fortress, entitled O Blessed Spring. She and her husband David Cherwien have two sons.
Robert Buckley Farlee (b. 1950), was born in California; did his undergraduate study at Concordia College in Seward, Nebraska; and received the MDiv in 1976 from Concordia Seminary and Christ Seminary-Seminex in St. Louis, as well as a Master of Sacred Theology in 1979. In addition to serving churches as pastor and/or musician and composing choral, organ and service music, Farlee served as an editor for Augsburg Fortress from 1981-1986, becoming senior worship and music editor in 2001, also serving as one of the editors of Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006). He served as president of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians and in 1999 received the William A. and Nancy M. Raabe Prize for Excellence in Sacred Composition.
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