322. God, the Father of Your People

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: 87 87 D
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Scripture: ;
Topic: Commitment & Dedication; Close of Worship; Joy (3 more...)
Copyright: st. 1 © 1987, CRC Publications
Tune Information
Harmonizer: Norman E. Johnson (1973)
Meter: 87 87 D
Key: G Major
Source: W. Moore's The Columbian Harmony, 1825
Copyright: Harmonization © 1973, Covenant Press

Text Information:

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

Tune Information:

HOLY MANNA is an Appalachian tune, published in William Moore's four-shape tune book The Columbian Harmony in 1825. Moore (from Wilson County in west Tennessee) claimed authorship of eighteen of the tunes in that collection, including HOLY MANNA, which was set to "Brethren, We Have Met to Worship." HOLY MANNA was a very popular tune, given various names and set to various texts in many collections.

Shaped in rounded bar form (AABA), HOLY MANNA was originally meant to be sung in unison. The pentatonic (five-note) melody is well suited for canonic singing. The choir can effectively sing stanza 2, beginning one measure after the congregation, with the organ playing the last measure two times to complete the canon. Use light accompaniment or play the melody on a solo manual.

The harmonization by Norman E. Johnson (b. Smolan, KS, 1928; d. Grand Rapids, MI, 1983) was first published in the 1973 Covenant Hymnal. Johnson attended Bethany College, Lindsborg, Kansas; North Park Theological Seminary, Chicago, Illinois; and received a Master of Church Music degree from the University of California. A senior music editor for Singspiration Music, Johnson also served the Evangelical Covenant Church of Grand Rapids as minister of music. He edited several hymnals, including The Covenant Hymnal (1973), to which he also contributed some texts and tunes.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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