RAY COLLINS: The Lord is My Shepherd

Sunday’s Mass Readings include the Psalm commonly known as The Lord is My Shepherd (Psalm 23), one of the most used psalms for a range of celebrations. It is certainly one that appeals to me, particularly the comfort it provides in the promise of God’s constant support even during the most challenging parts of our lives. 

My affection for this Psalm was highlighted as the organist played the hymn which is based on the psalm, “The Lord is My Shepherd and I Want to Follow”. This hymn has long been a favourite of mine and as a school Principal I always used it in our school mass celebrating the induction of our school leaders.

The hymn begins with the words: “The Lord is my Shepherd, and I want to follow, wherever he leads me, wherever he goes.” It is firstly a profound expression of faith but it is also portrays a sense of confidence in the paths that we will follow with the Lord as our guide and protector.

With our school leadership inductions it represented a commitment from our school leaders that they would follow the example passed on to them through the scriptures and particularly through the life of Jesus as they undertook their leadership roles.

The hymn’s final verse includes the following:

“And while on the journey to where we are going,
He promised to be there to help us along. 
And over the mountains we’ll walk on together,
To know all the wonders He’s given to me.”

The organist playing this hymn on Sunday morning at Charlestown was one of our Year 12 students from St Francis Xavier’s College, Hamilton. Today Yvonne and her fellow Year 12 students from across the diocese commence their Higher School Certificate. As she played this beautiful hymn I hoped its words would give her comfort as she prepares for the demands of the next few weeks.

To all of our HSC students I express the best wishes of all involved in Catholic schools in our diocese as they begin their round of exams. I hope that the images conveyed in Psalm 23 of the Lord as our shepherd, who will guide us along the right path, who will give us comfort, who will revive our drooping spirit will be of solace to them as they face the inevitable challenges of their HSC papers.

Most importantly, I hope that the words of this psalm will be with them well after they complete their exams as they prepare for the next stages of their lives.

Ray Collins Image
Ray Collins

Ray Collins is the Director of Schools within the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. He is an authority on education issues.