Putting the text of a hymn in your own words is a wonderful exercise for devotion and reflection. Here is my paraphrase of “Children of the Heavenly Father”:
1 All God’s children have a safe haven where they gather in God’s Spirit.
Rescue is found in God’s Spirit, embodied in the community of God’s people.
2 All people have an advocate and a provider in God.
God shelters from hatred and harm and raises up in the power of the resurrection.
3 There is no thing, good or evil, in all our living and dying that can separate us from God’s love.
All God’s children receive mercy and pardon because God knows their stories. God knows their troubles.
4 In times of plenty, and in times of hardship, God is there.
God is purifying us so that we might last longer and flourish.
1 Children of the heav’nly Father safely in his bosom gather;
nestling bird nor star in heaven such a refuge e’er was given.
2 God his own doth tend and nourish, in his holy courts they flourish.
From all evil things he spares them, in his mighty arms he bears them.
3 Neither life nor death shall ever from the Lord his children sever;
unto them his grace he showeth, and their sorrows all he knoweth.
4 Though he giveth or he taketh, God his children ne’er forsaketh;
his the loving purpose solely to preserve them pure and holy.
Text: Carolina Sandell Berg, 1832-1903; tr. Ernst W. Olson, 1870-1958
Text © 1925 Board of Publication, Lutheran Church in America, admin. Augsburg Fortress.