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I Am Almost A Descendant Of Thor

My maternal grandmother was a proud, third-generation, purebred Chicago Swede who grew up in Jeff Park. She had a lot of positive impact in my life, and I will always remember the dalahorses, meatballs and ham. My mother was doing some recent genealogical research, and she found out that my great-great-uncle from that side of the family was named Thor. So yeah, I have a relative named Thor. But I’d rather like to say that I’m almost a descendant of Thor.

As a culture, Sweden has had a very notable impact on the building of congregations in the United States. They had a very (and sometimes the most) influential hand in founding several church denominations that are respected in our country: the Evangelical Free Church, Converge, and the Evangelical Covenant Church are examples, and then there’s the Swedish influence in the Lutheran denominations. The north side of Chicago (in and around Andersonville) is a location with plenty of Swedish culture and heritage, as it’s home to North Park University, Swedish Covenant Hospital, and the Swedish American Museum.

With all this in mind, and being part-Swedish myself, I’ve sung a few portions of hymns and contemporary songs in the Swedish language (I talk to some Swedish-educated people beforehand to make sure I’m pronouncing words correctly). The hymn that I hear the most about when talking about Swedish-American church history is the hymn “Children of the Heavenly Father.” The video I used and lyrics (Swedish and English) are below:

Tryggare kan ingen vara, (Children of the heav’nly Father)

Än Guds lilla barnaskara, (Safely in His bosom gather;)

Stjärnan ej på himlafästet, (Nestling bird nor star in Heaven)

Fågeln ej i kända nästet. (Such a refuge e’er was given.)

Herren sina trogna vårdar, (God His own doth tend and nourish;)

Uti Sions helga gårdar, (In His holy courts they flourish;)

Över dem Han sig förbarmar,(From all evil things He spares them;)

Bär dem uppå fadersarmar. (In His mighty arms He bears them.)

Ingen nöd och ingen lycka, (Neither life nor death shall ever)

Skall utur Hans hand dem rycka, (From the Lord His children sever;)

Han vår vän för andra vänner, (Unto them His grace He showeth,)

Sina barns bekymmer känner. (And their sorrows all He knoweth.)

Se Han räknar håren alla, (Though He giveth or He taketh,)

Som från deras huvud falla, (God His children ne’er forsaketh;)

Han oss föder och oss kläder, (His the loving purpose solely)

Under sorgen Han oss gläder. (To preserve them pure and holy.)

Gläd dig då, du lilla skara, (Lo, their very hairs He numbers,)

Jakobs Gud skall dig bevara, (And no daily care encumbers)

För Hans vilja måste alla, (Them that share His ev’ry blessing)

Fiender till jorden falla. (And His help in woes distressing.)

Vad Han tar och vad Han giver, (Praise the Lord in joyful numbers:)

Samme Fader Han förbliver, (Your Protector never slumbers.)

Och Hans mål är blott det ena, (At the will of your Defender)

Barnets sanna väl allena. (Ev’ry foeman must surrender.)

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