The King of love my shepherd is,
whose goodness faileth never;
I nothing lack if I am his
and he is mine forever.
Where streams of living water flow,
my ransomed soul he leadeth
and, where the verdant pastures grow,
with food celestial feedeth.
Perverse and foolish oft I strayed,
but yet in love he sought me,
and on his shoulder gently laid,
and home, rejoicing, brought me.
In death's dark vale I fear no ill,
with thee, dear Lord, beside me,
thy rod and staff my comfort still;
thy cross before to guide me.
Thou spreadst a table in my sight;
thine unction grace bestoweth;
and, oh, what transport of delight
from thy pure chalice floweth!
And so, through all the length of days,
thy goodness faileth never.
Good Shepherd, may I sing thy praise
within thy house forever.
As we gather for worship on this Reign of Christ Sunday, we do so trusting in the God who promises to meet us in the word, water, wheat and wine. By the grace of God, the sacraments of Holy Communion and Holy Baptism will be front and center for the body of Christ gathered anew today. What a gift! For when all our words and images and metaphors fall short of describing God, we are invited to taste and see Christ's feast-word and splash about in the Spirit's water-word.
Perhaps that is why Henry W. Baker punctuated his paraphrase of Psalm 23 with sacramental imagery. "Streams of living water flow" (vs. 2), "food celestial" (vs. 2), "spreadest a table" (vs. 5) and "pure chalice floweth" (vs. 5) all point to our shepherd-king who feeds us in mercy and washes us in love. This is all done for our sake and for the sake of world. May we bear God's reign of mercy and love in the world until the final consummation of all things in Christ Jesus, our saving grace.
We sing our prayer: "And so, through all the length of days, thy goodness faileth never. Good Shepherd, may we sing thy praise within thy house forever."
The holy Trinity sings back to us, "Amen! Let it be so!"