On Sunday the sung response between the readings about shepherds is the 23rd psalm.
Who is my shepherd? The King of love. Whose goodness fails me when? Never. What do I lack if I am his? Nothing. And for how long am I his? Forever.
The priest in Aurora, Colorado, will be in church on Sunday with a congregation in shock.
Some will feel ransomed and spared, as if they have been led by the shepherd to a verdant pasture where living waters flow. Some will be in a dark valley, in death’s dark vale, where they might or might not feel the Lord beside them. But before them all the Lord will spread a banquet on the altar. With heavenly (“celestial”) food he will feed them, and oh, what a “transport of delight” will flow “from his pure chalice” as he “bestows his saving grace.”
Through the long, long days ahead, when will his goodness fail them? Never.
The King of Love my Shepherd Is (Psalm 23)
The King of love my shepherd is
Whose goodness fails me never;
I nothing lack if I am his
And he is mine for ever.
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.
You spread a table in my sight;
Your saving grace bestowing;
And oh, what transport of delight
From your pure chalice flowing!
And so through all the length of days
Thy goodness faileth never;
Good Shepherd, may I sing thy praise
Within thy house forever.
— Henry William Baker, 1868