Our Father we have Wandered

This is hymn of repentance, which is suitable for Lent.  The text is inspired by the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15: 11-32).

It was written by English Roman Catholic priest Kevin Nichols (1929-2006).  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.

With meter 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 Comprehensive
  • 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.

the father's loving embrace in a moment of reconcilliation


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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:


The 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 ...

See more ...

Our Father, we have wandered and hidden from your face, in foolishness have squandered your legacy of grace. But now, in exile dwelling, we rise with fear and shame, as distant but compelling, we hear you call our name. 2 And now at length discerning the evil that we do, behold us Lord, returning with hope and trust to you. In haste you come to meet us and home rejoicing bring. In gladness there to greet us with calf and robe and ring. 3 O Lord of all the living both banished and restored, compassionate, forgiving and ever caring Lord, grant now that our transgressing, our faithlessness may cease. Stretch out your hand in blessing in pardon and in peace.

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