Sunday, May 4, 2008

Hymn of the Week: The King of Love My Shepherd Is

It was at my insistence that an arrangement of this song be sung at our wedding nearly fifteen years ago (my wife was quite content to comply with this desire). Although nothing can match the words of Scripture, few pieces of man's thoughts will come so close as this to beautifully conveying the thoughts of Psalm 23. Notice that the six stanzas correspond to the six verses of that psalm.

The words are perhaps the most famous hymn lyrics of Henry W. Baker, who lived in mid-19th-century England. One of the two melodies commonly associated with it is the same as last week's hymn (How Sweet and Awesome Is This Place)—a fact I learned just today; the other was written by John B. Dykes.

The King of Love My Shepherd Is

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 spread’st a table in my sight;
Thy unction grace bestoweth;
And O 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.

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