Sunday, May 15, 2011

Streams For Thirsting Souls

Today is Good Shepherd Sunday in many churches and if yours is one of them you have probably already heard more than one version of Psalm 23 either read aloud or sung, and a sermon on top.

There are many hymn texts derived from this psalm; some of which we have already seen here (click on the tag below). Two of the most familiar of them
were listed last year on one grouping of "the ten best" hymns. Here's one more for today, and I think I could go on for several more years with one more each year.

I shall not want: in deserts wild
Thou spread’st a table for thy child;
While grace in streams for thirsting souls,
Thro’ earth and heav'n forever rolls.

I shall not want: my longest night
Thy loving smile shall fill with light;
While promises around me bloom,
And cheer me with divine perfume.

I shall not want: thy righteousness
My soul shall clothe with glorious dress;
My heav'nly robe shall be more fair
Than garments kings or angels wear.

I shall not want: whate’er is good,
Of daily bread or angels’ food,
Shall to my longing heart be sure,
So long as earth and heav'n endure.

Charles F. Deems, 1872; alt.
Robert Schumann, 1839, adapt.

Charles Force Deems led the Church of the Strangers in New York City when he wrote this hymn. It was a nondenominational Protestant congregation, founded in part by a $50,000 gift fron philanthopist Cornelius Vanderbilt, and its pastor was feeling a bit overwhelmed with the many individual needs of his parishioners. Meditating on those concerns, the words "I shall not want" from the psalm spoke to him most directly and the hymn soon followed.

The tune CANONBURY which still appears in many hymnals is arranged from a melody by the German composer Robert Schumann in his solo piano work Nachtstucke, Opus 23 No. 4.

Two Years Ago: Samuel Webbe

One Year Ago: Austin C. Lovelace


Leland Ross said...

No new posts, and not accepting comments; this is troubling.

Leland Ross said...

seems to take under "Name/URL" but not under "Google Account"

Leland Ross said...

Anyhow, I did take an initial stab at commenting on Voices Found at my hymnblog, but I haven't had any commenters or even any particular evidence of visitors to that post.

Leland Ross said...

I do like the song. CANONBURY though is one of those catch-all tunes that a former generation applied texts to with a promiscuity that foreshadowed a later generation's use of HYFRYDOL. My index currently shows 25 texts for it:

Again as evenings shadow falls
**Bless thou the gifts our hands have brought
Creating God your fingers trace
Creator God we give you thanks
Diverse in culture nation race
Eternal God may we be free
Forth in thy name O Lord I go
Hail morning known among the blest
How beauteous were the marks
How blest are they who trust in Christ
*Lord speak to me that I may speak
New every morning is the love
No more my God I boast no more
O blest the house whateer befall
O Christ the healer we have come
O God of love O King of peace
O God thy world is sweet with prayer
O grant us light that we may know
O master let me walk with thee
Ride on ride on in majesty
Sweet is the work my God my King
We bless the name of Christ the Lord
We have not wings we cannot soar
Worthy of homage and of praise
Your love O God has called us here

The starred first lines are the only ones that occur with any frequency, and for which CANONBURY is clearly the preferred tune.

C.W.S. said...

Still here, though commenting is up and down apparently.

I certainly had not seen all those different texts matched with CANONBURY (some of which are quite unfortunate, though technically they all "work"). It's what I call a servicable tune, one which I feel fairly neutral about but which works because people sing it.

It's the first time it's shown up here.