It was first published in 1981, and the copyright is owned by International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc (ICEL), which Nichols was a member of for many years.
The text is inspired by the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15: 11-32).
With meter 188.8.131.52 D, tunes it has been set to include:
- PASSION CHORALE (HERZLICH TUT MICH VERLANGEN) by Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612) - the original tune, and most commonly published
- DOWN BY THE SALLY GARDENS - Irish traditional
- BUSHES AND BRIARS - English traditional, used as the basis for a choral setting
- DECORAH by Ralph M Johnston
- OUR FATHER WE HAVE WANDERED - a contemporary setting by Fr. J. Roel Lungay (b 1960)
The song has crossed denominational boundaries, and has been published in books as diverse as::
- Common Praise
- Gather Comprehsnsive
- The New Century Hymnal
- Voices United: The Hymn and Worship Book of The United Church of Canada
- With One Voice - published by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Solo singer with organ, tune PASSION CHORALE:
Congregation with organ, tune PASSION CHORALE:
Choir and congregation with praise band, tune DOWN BY THE SALLY GARDENS:
Lead singer and backing, tune OUR FATHER WE HAVE WANDERED :
Karaoke track, tune PASSION CHORALE:
Instrumental, tune DECORAH:
LyricsThe lyrics are copyright so cannot be reproduced here. But they are currently available on this website. A rough outline is:
1 Our Father, we have wandered and hidden from your face ..
2 And now at length discerning the evil that we do ...
3 O Lord of all the living, both banished and restored ...