Tend Me [New Poem]

Tend me, O Shepherd
Lead me to safe pasture
To be fed and abide with You

I long to walk in an open place
A quiet, still expanse
Peaceful and self-forgetful

Lay me down in rest
Reposing, seeking
Transport from the noise

Expand my soul
To this new space
Embraced by holy imagination

And tend me

I don’t remember when I first started writing this poem (I wrote it in stages), but I know that it was influenced by the images in the 23rd Psalm:


1    The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters.

3 He restores my soul.

He leads me in paths of righteousness

for his name’s sake.

4    Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil,

for you are with me;

your rod and your staff,

they comfort me.

Psalm 23:1-4

I also recall being in a particularly needy place — at least in a moment when I felt it more acutely than others — when reflecting and writing this one. It’s certainly a prayer with God as the Good Shepherd in view, particularly as bodied forth in Jesus. And, as we may be aware, shepherds guide and protect as well as discipline with their “rod” and “staff.” This aspect of shepherding is recalled in another Psalm:

17    I shall not die, but I shall live,

and recount the deeds of the LORD.

18 The LORD has disciplined me severely,

but he has not given me over to death.

Psalm 118:17-18

It also touches on what the Apostle Paul wrote concerning his own experience following Jesus:

7   But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.

2 Corinthians 4:7-10

All in all, I hope this poem briefly but directly captures the deep, innate human longing for a quiet, peaceful place of rest that only the Good Shepherd can provide in times of need — through His presence and His word of grace. And He does provide it and bring us into the peace of Christ, where the Spirit more and more enables to imagine what could be (and will be) in the light of His glory and grace. He tends us and will tend us forevermore.

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

1 John 3:2

1 Comments on “Tend Me [New Poem]”

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