Lambs and shepherds, come away!
Today (3rd May) is sometimes known as “Shepherding Sunday” and congregations throughout the world will be reading, singing, and/or listening to a version of the 23rd Psalm, arguably the best known and most loved of all the psalms.
Twice in the last week I have been asked to include it in a forthcoming funeral service, though as a reading rather than sung given that there will be ten or fewer people permitted to attend the crematorium.
In each case, the deceased himself has left this request. One gentleman was an elder with many years’ to the Kirk Session and in the congregation generally, while the other gentleman was not a church member, at least not at the time of his death. I find it interesting that these two different people felt drawn to the same passage of scripture – but not surprising.
The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want
He makes me down to lie
In pastures green he leadeth me
The quiet waters by
My soul he doth restore again
And me to walk doth make
Within the paths of righteousness
Even for his own Name’s sake
Yea though I walk in death’s dark vale
Yet will I fear none ill
For thou art with me, and thy rod
And staff me comfort still
My table thou has furnished
In presence of my foes
My head thou dost with oil anoint
And my cup overflows
Goodness and mercy all my life
Shall surely follow me
And in God’s house for evermore
My dwelling place shall be.