I found myself thinking about this hymn today, I couldn’t tell you why. I learned it (though with a different tune) from my mother who was leading the children’s choir at the time. We sang it with our primary school voices, but the words are not really meant for children–they’re meant for those of us with a few years and some wear and tear. And they point to one of the reasons why having children in church is so important. We need to be reminded that God can see the sweetness adults still embody. We need to remember that, though we are not children, we are children of God.
When I was little and would start to leave the house looking dirty or unkempt, my mother would tell me, “I can’t let you go out looking like that. People will think that nobody loves you!” She of course, knew what I was like under the grime and disheveled hair. Not an orphan or a street urchin or a prodigal, but a beloved child with a home.
The choir of Wakefield Cathedral conducted by Jonathan Bielby
Tune: “Melling” by John Fawcett. Words: John Cennick
Children of the heavenly King,
As ye journey, sweetly sing;
Sing your Saviour’s worthy praise,
Glorious in his works and ways
We are travelling home to God,
In the way the fathers trod;
They are happy now, and we
Soon their happiness shall see.
Fear not, brethren; joyful stand
On the borders of your land;
Jesus Christ, your Father’s Son,
Bids you undismayed go on.
Lift your eyes, ye sons of light,
Zion’s city is in sight:
There our endless home shall be,
There our Lord in glory see