Hymn #202: O God, How We Have Wandered

Kevin Francis Nichols (b. 1929) combines ideas from Luke 15 (the story of the lost son) and 2 Corinthians 5 (becoming new beings in Christ) for this text, written in 1980. Wandering from God’s will and being called back and forgiven are important themes for the Lenten season.

Kevin Nichols was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, in 1929. Following his education at Cambridge and the University of Liverpool, he was a lecturer in education and then became national advisor for religious education. More recently, he has served as a parish priest in County Durham.

Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612) composed the tune HERZLICH TUT MICH VERLANGEN as an air for a love song in 1601. The tune was later used with religious words and named PASSION CHORALE. It appears five times in J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion, among other works.

Hans Leo Hassler studied music with his father, who was the official town musician and organist in Nürnberg, Bavaria, and then became a student of Andrea Gabrielli in Venice. He was the first famous German musician to receive his education in Italy.