congregation-singing.jpg As I’ve mentioned before, the Gaithers provide fodder for a number of the songs and hymns I recall from my youth. One of those that I remember fairly clearly is Bill Gaither‘s “The Family of God,” which is this week’s addition to my series Then Sings My Soul: The Hymns of My Youth. The song dates only to 1970, so it’s quite young compared to most hymns, but I do still have fond memories of it from my youth.

This song obviously draws on the image of the church community as a family — a popular image, to be sure. Whether a given church expresses the inclusiveness of belonging well or not, there remains a profound truth in the motif. The second verse expresses the change from outcast to belonging as an a metaphor for the transition into the community of faith.

The Family of God

      I’m so glad I’m a part of the Family of God,
      I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His Blood!
      Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod,
      For I’m part of the family,
      The Family of God

You will notice we say “brother and sister” ’round here,
It’s because we’re a family and these are so near;
When one has a heartache, we all share the tears,
And rejoice in each victory in this family so dear.


From the door of an orphanage to the house of the King,
No longer an outcast, a new song I sing;
From rags unto riches, from the weak to the strong,
I’m not worthy to be here, but praise God! I belong!


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