Notes on the Notes – April 21, 2013
Theme: A Shepherd’s Voice
Today’s scripture readings:
Psalm 23, John 10:22-30
“Saviour, Like a shepherd lead us” (SFGP #93) – We don’t know who wrote the words to “Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us.” It first appeared in a children’s hymnal compiled by Dorothy Thrupp in 1836, so some people think that Mrs. Thrupp wrote it – but that is far from certain. But it is clear enough what inspired the words. Two scriptures come to mind. The first is Psalm 23, which begins, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” The second is the tenth chapter of the Gospel of John, where Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd.”
The tune, DISMISSAL, is by William L. Viner (1790-1867). Viner studied organ with Charles Wesley jr. (1757-1834) and became organist of St. Michael’s Church in Bath in c. 1810. While in Bath he built a reputation as a gifted keyboard teacher. Viner emigrated to the United States in 1859. He died in Westfield, MA July 1867.
“The Lord’s My Shephed” (VU #747) – Jessie Seymour Irvine (1836–1887) was the daughter of a Church of Scotland parish minister who served at Dunottar, Peterhead, and Crimond in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
Her most famous tune is CRIMOND, which is best known as one of the most popular settings for the (paraphrased) words of Psalm 23: “The Lord’s my shepherd”. It is believed that Irvine wrote the tune while still in her teens, as an exercise for an organ class she was attending. The tune first appeared in The Northern Psalter where it was credited to David Grant. It was subsequently revealed, however, that Grant had only arranged and not composed the tune, and the 1929 Scottish Psalter credits Irvine.
This tune was used at the wedding of Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip in 1947.
“The Lord Will Be My Shepherd” – This anthem, by Don Besig and Nance Price, is a reflection on the 23rd Psalm. It was written in memory of Don’s mother in 1990.
“Are You a Shepherd?” (MV 126) – This song was written by Ruth Duck and William P. Rowan in 2002.
Ruth Duck is an ordained pastor in the United Church of Christ, and served congregations in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts, prior to joining the faculty at Garrett in 1989. She has edited three books of worship resources, and is the author of many books on worship. She is an internationally known leader in worship. Her hymns appear in many hymnals, including Voices United and More Voices.
In this hymn, she challenges us to think beyond the shepherd image:
“Are you a shepherd, good shepherd who leads us safely through danger, while calming our fears? Are you a father who shelters and feeds us, shares in our laughter and wipes away tears? Are you a mother, good mother who bears us, comforts, protects us and helps us to rest? Are you a teacher who daily prepares us, challenging students to offer their best?
Yes, you are shepherd, parent and teacher, but you are greater than all that we know. Holy and living, loving and giving, God, you are with us wherever we go.
Great, gentle shepherd, forever beside us, lead all your children in paths that are right. Great, loving parent, wise teacher, you guide us. We want to love you and bring you delight. “
“Grant Us God, the Grace” (VU #540) – This anonymous text is from the Mennonite hymn book, Hymnal: a Worship Book (1992). This arrangement of the tune STUTTGART is by Henry John Gauntlett, an organist and choirmaster who was also involved in design improvements for the English pipe organ. The tune will be familiar as it is also used with the hymn “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus” by Charles Wesley.
“He Leadeth Me” (VU #657) – Words by Joseph Henry Gilmore (1862) and music by William Batchelder Bradbury (1864). Joseph Gilmore, the son of a govenor of New Hampshire, became both a professor of logic and a minister. He wrote this text, based on Psalm 23, in Philadelphia in March, 1862, during the American Civil War. His wife submitted the poem to the Boston journal, Watchman and Reflector, where William B. Bradbury saw it. Bradbury adapted the hymn text to a verse and refrain structure and published his setting in Golden Censer (1864). Gilmore found his hymn in a new gospel songbook while visiting another city, and was quite amazed at its growing popularity.
Enjoy Candi Peason’s version of this song at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXeCQgOlx4Q