Songs of Advent – Of the Father’s Love Begotten


NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Friday, December 18th—one week from Christmas Day. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. For our fourth, and final, installment on the Music of Advent, Bonnie Pritchett presents what hymnody scholars believe is one of the oldest hymns of the church.

BONNIE PRITCHETT, REPORTER: It wasn’t until late in life that Aurelius Clemens Prudentius devoted himself to God. Born in 348 to a wealthy Spanish family and schooled in the law, Prudentius lived quite successfully as lawyer, judge, and provincial governor.

SONG: [OF THE FATHER’S LOVE BEGOTTEN, CATHEDRAL SINGERS]

But at 57, he left it all for the monk’s cowl and pen. Perhaps his most enduring poem is Of the Father’s Love Begotten. Here is a version performed by The Cathedral Singers in 1994.

SONG: [OF THE FATHER’S LOVE BEGOTTEN, CATHEDRAL SINGERS]

John Neale included six stanzas of the poem’s original nine in his 1851 translation from Latin to English. Ten years later Henry Baker included three more of Prudentius’s verses. Neal’s editor paired the poem with a 12th century plainsong melody. Perhaps that melody’s dance-like rhythm inspired composer Matt Riley in this 2014 interpretation.

SONG: [OF THE FATHER’S LOVE BEGOTTEN, MATT RILEY]

Of the Father’s Love Begotten, reads like a confession of faith. It proclaims God is the eternally triune Creator, Savior, and King the prophets promised would redeem His people. 

From the opening stanza, Of the Father’s Love Begotten tells a lost and weary world of a love not bound by time. 

The husband-and-wife duo, Adam and Lori Ubowski, call themselves Out of Darkness. In their 2016 version of the hymn, they added a refrain: “Forever in the Father’s love we stand. Forever. Amen.”

Amen, indeed.

SONG: [OF THE FATHER’S LOVE BEGOTTEN, OUT OF DARKNESS]

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Bonnie Pritchett


EICHER: If you’ve enjoyed Bonnie’s music selections for Advent, we’ve made up a Spotify playlist so you can download those cuts for your own enjoyment. We’ve placed a link to that playlist in today’s transcript: worldandeverything.org. Bonnie returns one week from today with one more musical reflection, this time, celebrating Christmas Day.


(Photo/iStock)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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