Posted by: rcottrill | October 18, 2017

Father in Heaven Who Lovest All

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Words: Joseph Rudyard Kipling (b. Dec. 30, 1865; d. Jan. 18, 1936)
Music: Pentecost, by William Boyd (b. _____, 1847; d. Feb. 16, 1928)

Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: Rudyard Kipling was an acclaimed English author of novels, short stories, and poems. His children’s books are considered literary classics. In 1907 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Though today he is sometimes faulted for being an advocate of British Imperialism, he is still widely read and appreciated. A few of his poems have been turned into hymns.

Father in Heaven, Who Lovest All was originally a poem in a children’s book called Puck of Pook’s Hill. In the book, a fairy named Puck periodically visits two children and tells them stories about ancient history and other things. As for the tune used here, Pentecost is commonly coupled to the hymns Fight the Good Fight, and Go, Labour On.

As I write this, the city of Houston, Texas, is continuing to clean up after the destructive pounding of Hurricane Harvey. The devastation is appalling. Homes simply blown to flinders, or so flooded with filthy water as to become uninhabitable.

Likely no structure in Harvey’s path was completely unaffected, but some certainly fared better than others. Solid structures on a firm foundation can withstand hurricane winds better. Construction today in areas that are prone to high winds is often done with that in mind. Buildings have a design and use materials that can withstand the storms.

High winds can actually lift the roof off a house. When that happens, the structure is seriously weakened and it becomes even more likely to face total collapse. The solution is first to lay down a stable foundation, then to pay greater attention to anchoring the upper structure, through the walls to that foundation. Windows and doors are especially vulnerable, but these can be reinforced in various ways. No building is absolutely indestructible, but careful attention to design can help greatly.

This has an application to the moral and spiritual realm. Society is facing many storms. Storms of moral perversion and degradation, storms of materialistic values, storms of violence, cruelty and international conflict, storms of political posturing, dishonesty and mismanagement, just to name a few. But though such things make the news today, they can often be traced to their hidden beginnings in individual upbringing and what happened in early family life.

Families are intended by God to provide the basic building blocks of society. As parents ground children in spiritual values they prepare them to make a positive contribution to community life later on. But to lift a question asked by David out of its context, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Ps. 11:3). How can we expect to build a righteous society when God is not honoured in so many homes?

“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labour in vain who build it….Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward” (Ps. 127:1, 3).

God exhorts parents to “train up a child in the way he should go” (Prov. 22:6). “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition [instruction] of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).

Children need to be taught God’s Word in the home, from their earliest years, as well as seeing, in their parents, living examples of biblical principles. That will lay a good foundation for life, and it will ultimately have its affect on the broader community.

Rudyard Kipling’s poem was intended as moral instruction for English boys, but it presents principles that have a much wider application, ones that would help to build a good foundation for life. (The line about bearing the yoke in youth comes from Lamentations 3:27.)

CH-1) Father in heav’n, who lovest all,
O help Thy children when they call,
That they may build from age to age
An undefilèd heritage.

CH-2) Teach us to bear the yoke in youth,
With steadfastness and careful truth,
That, in our time, Thy grace may give
The truth whereby the nations live.

CH-4) Teach us to look in all our ends,
On Thee for Judge, and not our friends,
That we, with Thee, may walk uncowed
By fear or favour of the crowd.

CH-5) Teach us the strength that cannot seek,
By deed or thought, to hurt the weak,
That, under Thee, we may possess
Man’s strength to comfort man’s distress.

1) Beyond teaching them to trust in the Saviour, what do you believe are the most important biblical principles or character qualities children in the home need to learn and adopt?

2) How can local churches help parents with their roll in this?

Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal


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