This week's hymn is an attempt to include a song of confession in our hymnography--it's something that was common in the biblical psalms, but does not hold a significant share of the classic corpus of Christian hymns. The chorus attempts to incorporate the traditional lines of the "general confession" as used in several Christian liturgies. The first verse takes the image of the Good Shepherd seeking the lost sheep; the second adopts the language of Psalm 51; and the third concludes with a biblical reminder of the assurance of forgiveness. The tune used here is from an old Civil War-era folk song, "The Dying Volunteer."
My Shepherd Is Faithful
My Shepherd is faithful; He comes after me;
Though blindly I walk long and far from His sheep.
He leaves in the fold ninety-nine all behind,
Walks my broken trail, and in love rescues me!
In Your mercy, dear Lord, chase after your sheep;
I've wandered away in my thought, word, and deed,
In things that I've done and the things left undone;
Have mercy, O Lord; from my sins rescue me!
Have mercy upon me, compassionate Friend:
Cleanse me from my sin and forgive me again.
For I know that I've done what's wrong in your sight;
Restore joy to me, and a clean heart within!
There's no condemnation for sheep in His flock;
His love has redeemed; by His blood we are bought.
His children, though blemished, are washed white as snow:
Forgiven they stand at the foot of the cross!