Preparing for Worship

by | Apr 23, 2021 | Preparing For Worship

Leigh CurlPreparing for Worship – Leigh Curl, pastoral resident. 

This Sunday is Shepherd Sunday, where we reflect and give thanks for Christ, the good shepherd. Our prelude is “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say,” one of my favorite hymns. As it is our prelude, and while the Carillon Ringers will do a spectacular job, we don’t get to hear or sing along to the words of the hymn. If you look up the lyrics, you’ll notice that there is no shepherd language, but it is a beautiful description of Jesus as the good shepherd.

There are a handful of hymns that, no matter what, I will shed a tear whenever I hear them and sing them. “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say” is one of those hymns. The tender, intimate imagery of Jesus just gets to me. Particularly in this incredibly difficult last year of COVID, and as I move into the unknown next phase of life, the words of this song provide a gentleness and comfort that I desperately need. Maybe you need that comfort and gentleness too.

“I heard the voice of Jesus say,
‘Come unto me and rest;
lay down, thou weary one, lay down
thy head upon my breast.’
I came to Jesus as I was,
so weary, worn and sad;
I found in him a resting place,
and he has made me glad.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
‘Behold, I freely give
the living water, thirsty one;
stoop down and drink and live.’
I came to Jesus, and I drank
of that life-giving stream;
my thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
and now I live in him.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
‘I am this dark world’s light;
look unto me, thy morn shall rise,
and all thy day be bright.’
I looked to Jesus, and I found
in him my star, my sun;
and in that light of life I’ll walk
till trav’lling days are done.”

This week as you prepare for worship, reflect on the words of this hymn and hear the voice of Jesus, the good shepherd. Come just as you are, whether you be weary, worn or sad. Hear the voice of Jesus say to lay your head upon his breast, to drink of the life-giving stream, to look unto him. He is this dark world’s light.