“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son…”
- John 3:16
“Whoever drinks the water I give will never be thirsty again…”
- John 4:13
“I am the Bread of Life. No one who comes to me shall ever be hungry…”
- John 6:35
The Gospel of John is notable for the poetic way it expresses the story of Jesus. Representing a tradition independent of the three synoptic Gospels, John uses formal discourses to help readers enter into a personal life-changing encounter with Jesus (Nicodemus or the Samaritan woman), or to dig deeper into a revealed sign (Feeding of the Five Thousand).
The synoptic Gospels have the tradition of Jesus’ agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. John turns that post-Last Supper prayer into an extended final teaching to the disciples on the meaning of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus.
“I pray for those who will believe in me through their (the disciples’) word, that all may be one as you, Father, are in me, and I in you.”
- John 17:20-21
I have always been moved by this prayer of Jesus, one of his longest in all the gospels. I love the idea that on the night before he died, Jesus was not thinking of himself but of those who were dear to him: his disciples and those who would someday hear their teaching – the Church throughout the centuries.
Scripture is the best source of inspiration for sacred music. Last Easter, as I was praying John 17, I turned to my friend Neil Turiano and asked if he might join me in setting the text to music. He came up with some good chord ideas and the song practically wrote itself after that.
“Holy Father” can be sung on Holy Thursday, in the late Easter season, and at any time of year for Communion, or when the liturgical focus is on discipleship or unity.
Pastoral musicians and worship leaders are welcome to use “Holy Father” in their communities. Please send me an email at email@example.com if you are interested in the sheet music or demo MP3. Available as a guitar lead sheet, SATB octavo, and piano score.
Vocals: Chris Brunelle
Piano and Bass: Ken Canedo
Guitar: Neil Turiano