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Hymn of the week: “Father, We Thank Thee”

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The 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Father, we thank Thee who hast planted
Thy holy Name within our hearts.
Knowledge and faith and life immortal
Jesus Thy Son to us imparts.

“Father, We Thank Thee” is a 20th-century hymn written by Bland Tucker. Appropriately sung on the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, the lyrics were drawn from the Didache (the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles), an early-Christian text that scholars date to the 2nd century.

Hymnary.org explains that Tucker was the son and brother of bishops of the Episcopal Church. He became a deacon of the Episcopal Church after serving in France with the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I. Tucker did not start writing hymns until 1937, when he became a part of a committee that revised hymns.

The text was set to a Renaissance-era melody most commonly referred to as “RENDEZ À DIEU.” This melody is also the setting for the Victorian English hymn, “Bread of the World in Mercy Broken.” The hymn tune is attributed to 16th-century composer Louis Bourgeois, who also wrote the melody for the Protestant Doxology (“Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow”), known as “OLD 100TH.”

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