This Shaker hymn has a timeless message. Right now I want as much as possible to tune and turn my mind away from the pain of the past, and away from fearful thoughts about the future, and land in the present moment. In this present moment let me look around and simply drink in everything as it is.
I learned this song in 4th grade and it has stayed with me all these years – yes, I’m old. I have never been able to find it in a book or anthology of songs, and suspect that it was written by my first music teacher, Marian Hiner. Marian was a gem of a human being, she lived to almost 104 years old, and after retiring from teaching she played the piano for people in the old folks home most of whom were younger than she. She was blind at the time, but could still play every song in the book.
For me this song connects with the Christian tradition in a subtle and beautiful way. Who would not love this shepherd?
Oh, tell me have you ever seen him? A shepherd lad with smile so bright, that people love him at first sight and day by day still hold him dearer. That is my love, surely ’tis he. I have his heart, my faith has he.
And if when any poor man venture to beg a lamb from out the flock, the shepherd does not spurn nor mock, but gives both lamb and ewe together. That is my love surely ’tis he. I have his heart, my faith has he.
May we sing as if our hearts depend on it. Perhaps they do.