As a family-centered church, this is a hymn that we ought to sing much more frequently than just the occasional Father’s Day. In fact, although its first line does mention “fatherhood” specifically, this inclusive hymn goes on to celebrate and teach about the entire family.
Our Father, By Whose Name is structured around the Godhead and what it can teach us about our families. Each of the three verses selects one member of the Godhead and uses him to illustrate a family role.
In verse 1, God the Father parallels “all parents,” and is asked, as a heavenly parent, to “guard … with constant love … the homes in which thy people dwell.”
In verse 2, the Son is used as a pattern for children, who are expected, like the Savior, to “grow in grace” (cf. Luke 2:40).
And in verse 3, the Spirit is invoked as a binding or sealing agent for the family, the same role it fills for the Godhead (see 3 Ne 11:32).
But verse 3 also closes this hymn with an important comment about the nature of family love:
And help us each to find the love from self set free.
In all our hearts such love increase,
That ev’ry home, by this release,
May be the dwelling place of peace.
We are promised that “ev’ry home” can “be the dwelling place of peace” through a certain “release,” which was mentioned in the first line: “the love from self set free.”
This is a fitting conclusion to a hymn that focuses on the Godhead, because selfless love is the most characteristic quality of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. I hope that this Father’s Day we can supplement our appreciation for the selfless love of dads all over the world with an additional reverence for the selfless love of our Heavenly Father, who “so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16). Once we release love from selfishness or a focus on our wants and desires, our homes will be a place where peace itself can dwell. Let’s make sure we take advantage of that blessing.