Friday, September 15, 2006

Jehovah, Shepherd of My Soul

Randall Bush, my creative colleague who's field is philosphy but is also a gifted musician and poet, has set out to compose a hymn dedicated to each of the faculty members of the School of Christian Studies here. This week he passed on this one for me. Taking the oversight theme, he begins with the 23rd Psalm and moves to the Good Shepherd passage. See what you think.

Jehovah, Shepherd of My Soul

Jehovah, Shepherd of My Soul,
Let Thy staff my steps direct.
May Thy crook of comfort my heart console
Through dark death’s vale protect
In pleasant pastures greened by grace
Make Thou my soul to lie
By peaceful waters wind my ways
Till I to Thy fold draw nigh.

Good Shepherd, Jesus, save Thy sheep,
Our wayward souls restore.
From robbers, thieves, and ravenous beasts
Secure Thy sheepfold’s door.
Away from sin’s entangling snares
Direct our straying feet,
Of strangers’ lures let us beware,
As we hear and follow Thee.

“If you love me,” sounds the Shepherd’s voice,
“Then feed my hung’ring sheep.”
To deny him can never be our choice
If our love for him runs deep
As Jesus did his life lay down
His sheep one flock to make,
May we His gift of love compound
In our service for his sake.

Great Shepherd guide us to Thy fold
When life’s great course concludes
Past starry heavens bring our souls,
To realms of highest good,
Till we find Mercy’s mystic source,
Shall drink from Goodness’ well,
And in Thy house forevermore
Secure with Thee shall dwell.

Added Note: Dr. Bush has also composed an original tune which I hope to get to hear soon. If I can find someone tech savy enough, maybe it can be posted too.


Adam said...

That's quite beautiful. It has been my pleasure to have learned from such great "undershepards" such as Dr. Bush and yourself at Union.

Adam said...

P.S. Nice mug shot of you on the homepage! Was that from your undergraduate days? :-)

Ray Van Neste said...

Yeah, I've been waiting for the photo comments once I heard about the photo they used! Actually it is from my year at Union before going to Scotland. :)

Adam said...

Here's a really nice version of it!

Mark and Hannah said...

I put the picture on my computer background. Now if I want a "Van Neste" fix, I just turn on the computer! : )

Now if I could only have a talking bobble head....

Ray Van Neste said...

Yeah the production guys are behind on the bobbleheads, but maybe they'll be ready for Christmas! :)

Unknown said...

Great lyrics. I can't wait to hear the tune.

Can it be sung acappella? ;)

Drew Scott said...

I enjoyed the hymn. Thanks for posting it. You know, I've wondered why modern song writers continue to use the "Jehovah" name of God if it is generally viewed as a misunderstood rendering. Has it been "grandfathered in," or is it simply more accepted now? Just curious.

Ray Van Neste said...


Good question. Since it was written by a Baptist professor, it could be physically impossible to sing ti without accompaniment. :)

I don't know of anyone who is arguing for Jehovah as a more correct pronunciation. It is still used in music in poetry I think because it has a history of use and carries connotations and echoes of previous songs, uses, etc.