Fourth Sunday of Easter
May 3, 1998
|Acts 9:36-43||Peter raises Tabitha||332: Spirit of Faith, Come Down|
|Psalm 23||The Lord is the Good Shepherd||138: The King of Love My
381: Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us
|John 10:22-30||One for all, and He's the One||85: We Believe in One True
368: My Hope Is Built
|Revelation 7:9-17||The Shepherd of the psalmist is the Lamb who rules God's kingdom||73: O Worship the
96: Praise the Lord Who Reigns Above
154: All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name
155: All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name
157: Jesus Shall Reign
600: Wonderful Words of Life
727: O What Their Joy and Their Glory Must Be
Words Attr. to Dorothy A. Thrupp
Music by William B. Bradbury
One of the best known and best loved Psalms is Psalm 23. I learned it as a child, and I'm afraid I still recite it in the language of the old King James Version:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
For ever! I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever! The language of the King James Version is old and dusty, but these words are as fresh and as precious today as they ever were. Indeed, God gave us a wonderful gift for all time through the Psalmist who penned these words and shared them in song.
Music and song can carry stories across generations and cultures in a way that nothing else can. Written languages come and go. Consider the unsolved writings on stones, tombs, and even cave walls. We know very little of the cultures that used those written languages.
The history of the Hebrew people is more recent and their writings are part of a continuing story. The Old Testament contains books that recount much of their history. It is an exciting and inspiring story, but it is made richer and more meaningful through the Psalms. The Psalms contain comparatively little in terms of history, but they hold a vast treasure in praise and in prayer.
The words to this week's featured hymn are attributed to Dorothy A. Thrupp. She picks up with the same relationship between the shepherd and the sheep that the Psalmist wrote about. Jesus is the shepherd and the savior. We are His flock, in need of His care. Read the words slowly and silently, and take them to heart.
1. Savior, like a shepherd lead us, much we need thy tender care; in thy pleasant pastures feed us, for our use thy folds prepare. Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Thou hast bought us, thine we are. Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Thou hast bought us, thine we are. 2. We are thine, thou dost befriend us, be the guardian of our way; keep thy flock, from sin defend us, seek us when we go astray. Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Hear, O hear us when we pray. Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Hear, O hear us when we pray.
3. Thou hast promised to receive us, poor and sinful though we be; thou hast mercy to relieve us, grace to cleanse and power to free. Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! We will early turn to thee. Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! We will early turn to thee. 4. Early let us seek thy favor, early let us do thy will; blessed Lord and only Savior, with thy love our bosoms fill. Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Thou hast loved us, love us still. Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Thou hast loved us, love us still.
Can you still hear the Psalmist when you read the 23rd Psalm? Can you hear the Psalmist in the words of Dorothy Thrupp? Is the Psalmist still with us today? If you could write your own 23rd Psalm, how would you say it? How would you live it?
Thrupp lived in the 18th and 19th centuries and was often known to publish hymns anonymously. The hymn Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us was originally written as a hymn for children. If you are an adult and enjoy this hymn, that is OK. After all, isn't each of us a child of God?
Bradbury was a prominent student of the great hymn tune writer, Lowell Mason. Perhaps Bradbury's most famous tune is the melody for Jesus Loves Me. Other hymn tunes by Bradbury in The United Methodist Hymnal are He Leadeth Me: O Blessed Thought, 'Tis Finished, the Messiah Dies, Just As I Am, Without One Plea, and My Hope Is Built.
God bless you--
|Passages suggested are from The Revised Common Lectionary: Consultation on Common Texts (Abingdon Press, 1992) copyright © by the Consultation on Common Texts (CCT), P.O. Box 340003, Room 381, Nashville TN 37203-0003. Reprinted with permission of CCT.|