“Tenderly Our Good Shepherd Comes” Song Video

Tenderly our Good Shepherd comes,
guiding us always safely home;
She will give us comfort to restore our souls,
helping us follow peaceful goals.

Tenderly our Good Shepherd comes,
guiding us always safely home,
Her inclusive welcome opens every door,
spreading Her blessings evermore.

Words © 2019 Jann Aldredge-Clanton   Music © 2019 Katie Ketchum.

Soon after my book In Whose Image? God and Gender came out in the fall of 1990, my husband David gave me a tape of folk and jazz singer Bobby McFerrin’s song The 23rd Psalm. I’ve called this the “She” version of the 23rd Psalm because it has feminine pronouns and imagery for the Shepherd. In my book I explore biblical female names and images of the Divine, advocating for them and showing the difference they make for people of all genders and for the church. McFerrin’s The 23rd Psalm resonates with me, illustrating the importance of female names and images in music and other worship elements. Before I began writing lyrics including biblical female divine names and images, I played McFerrin’s song when I gave presentations on In Whose Image? God and Gender.

The Lord is my Shepherd, I have all I need.
She makes me lie down in green meadows,
beside the still waters, She will lead.

She restores my soul;
She rights my wrongs.
She leads me in a path of good things,
and fills my heart with songs.

Even though I walk, through a dark and dreary land,
there is nothing that can shake me;
She has said She won’t forsake me,
I’m in her hand.

She sets a table before me in the presence of my foes.
She anoints my head with oil,
and my cup overflows.

Surely, surely goodness and kindness will follow me
all the days of my life.
And I will live in her house
forever, forever and ever

Glory be to our Mother, and Daughter,
and to the Holy of Holies.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen

©1990 Bobby McFerrin 

When I wrote In Whose Image? God and Gender, I hadn’t explored Shepherd as a biblical female divine image because I’d thought of shepherds as male. But McFerrin’s song reminded me that shepherds can be female as well as male and that there are female shepherds in the Bible and beyond. One of the female shepherds in the Bible is Rachel, a daughter of Laban. (Genesis 29:6-9) In Luke 15, Jesus’ parable of the lost sheep depicts the Shepherd as male, but the twin parable of the lost coin pictures the Divine as Woman. Jesus uses both parables to make the same point: each individual has infinite worth.

Tenderly our Good Shepherd comes, guiding us always safely home.

Tenderly our Good Shepherd come, guiding us always safely home.

Video Credits

Performed by: Katie Ketchum

Music: Katie Ketchum

Lyrics: Jann Aldredge-Clanton

From: Hersay: Songs for Healing and Empowerment

Recorded at: Joe Hoffmann Studios, Occidental, CA

Visual Art:

Katie Ketchum: Hersay book cover and face of shepherd paintings

David Clanton: shepherd & sheep painting

Photo of Pastor Sheila Sholes-Ross at pulpit in First Baptist Church, Pittsfield, MA

Alice Heimsoth: two photos of Pastor Stacy Boorn and photo of altar at Ebenezer/herchurch Lutheran, San Francisco

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