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Monday, April 27, 2020
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.
“The King of Love My Shepherd Is” (vv. 3–4) by Henry Williams Baker’s
Hymn 802, Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal
I was unfamiliar with the hymn “The King of Love My Shepherd Is” until my early twenties, when I began to direct handbells at a Missouri United Methodist Church in Columbia, Missouri. The ensemble had been working on an arrangement of this piece for an upcoming performance, so I took over and continued working with them. I recall looking up the text of to get a feel for phrasing, dynamics, and the mood of the music and immediately fell in love with the hymn and reflection on Psalm 23.
About that same time in my life, I regularly stayed with the teenager and dogs of some dear friends. They had three labs (all so very sweet) and a huge backyard. One of these dogs was known as an escape artist, which worried me a great deal, so I always kept a close eye on her. One morning as I was getting ready to take the teenager to school and head to my student teaching, we noticed that the dog had gotten out. She was nowhere to be found! We got in our cars and drove, canvasing the neighborhood, shouting her name out of the car window and asking folks we saw for help. Luckily, we found the pup, hanging out right behind the fence that she dug out of. While I was angry at this dog, I was so very happy to see her! Hugs, kisses, and probably some tears of joy and relief came over me.
We’ve all been foolish and have strayed away from God. We’ve said nasty things to others. We have done things that are hurtful to those whom we love the most, especially while experiencing times of stress and uncertainty. The good news is that God will welcome us back with open arms, let us rest on God’s shoulder, and provide us with unconditional love, peace, and guidance.
Loving God, forgive me when I stray and act in a way I shouldn’t. Thank you for your constant love and forgiveness and the comfort that your care and guidance bring to me. Amen.
Written by Briana Belding-Peck, Family Ministry Coordinator
Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church
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