Sunday, May 3, 2009

Where Living Waters Flow

Good Shepherd Sunday, observed in some Catholic and Protestant traditions, falls on the Fourth Sunday of Easter. Sheep and shepherd references abound, and the readings generally include Psalm 23. That particular psalm, a favorite of many people, is also a popular subject for hymn texts. Already on the blog we have seen two different ones (here and here) and today we have a third, a gospel song which adds a refrain partially taken from Matthew 11: 28-30. There are many more paraphrases of Psalm 23, spanning several centuries and musical styles, so I'm sure we'll get to more of them.

Since God is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
God maketh me down to lie
In pastures green God leadeth me
The quiet waters by.

God's yoke is easy; God's burden is light.
I’ve found it so; I’ve found it so.
God leadeth me by day and by night
Where living waters flow.

My soul crieth out: “Restore me again,
And give me the strength to take
The narrow path of righteousness,
E’en for thine own Name’s sake.”

Yea, tho’ I should walk the valley of death,
Yet why should I fear from ill?
For thou art with me, and thy rod
And staff me comfort still.

Ralph E. Hudson, 1885; alt.
Tune: GOD'S YOKE IS EASY (Irregular with refrain)

Ralph Erskine Hudson was a Methodist minister who began his own publishing firm to produce hymnals and songbooks, many containing his own texts and tunes. He became a popular traveling evangelist, promoting his company's output.


AuntE said...

Another hymn reminding me of my youth, and one I have not sung in quite some time! I admit, though, that the words in my head are the pre-altered version...

Leland Bryant Ross said...

The way we read the lectionary, Good Shepherd Sunday is specifically the fourth Sunday of Easter in Year B (which this is). I don't think I've ever sung this one, and I thank you for pointing it out to me. Today we sang "Shepherd of my soul", "My Shepherd will supply my need" and "Savior, like a Shepherd lead us" at Fremont, as well as the three Swahili-sourced pieces I mentioned earlier, and I've been singing an African 23rd Psalm (the Swahili incipit is "Bwana Mungu ni Mchunga Wangu", but it's translated from some other African language, in which it was written and composed by one Samweli Syengo: MIDI) sotto voce during my bus commutes....

AuntE said...

Leland, you often mention Swahili - do you have some African immigrants in your congregation? Are you preparing to go to Africa? Is this just a hobby language for you? Just curious...

Leland Bryant Ross said...

No, it's just one of the languages that I know well enough to make some use of, and also enjoy using. An online acquaintance in Oklahoma sent me a copy of the 2003 Kenyan Baptist hymnal Nyimbo za Imani Yetu ("Hymns of our faith") and I've been enjoying it greatly, both the African material and the Swahili renditions of familiar European and (especially) American hymns and gospel songs. (My favorite is probably the version of Tindley's "We will understand it better by and by (When the morning comes)", Kutakapopambazuka.) But I'm just generally a language nut, Esperanto, Japanese, Russian, Latin, Cheyenne, ... as well as a hymn(al) nut...