The Lord Is My Shepherd

A friend of mine who was studying to be a minister said that once he had asked an old preacher what his advice was for a new person like him. According to my friend’s story, the old preacher hesitated a bit until finally saying, “At some point, you will hit a point in which you will not be able to do or say anything for someone to help or comfort them, no matter how much you try. And this is when you pray Psalm 23 with them.”

And so, for now, I would like to pray Psalm 23 with you.

And, interspersed with the lines of Psalm 23, I would like to share with you some of Henry Ossawa Tanner’s paintings of the Good Shepherd. For Henry Ossawa Tanner — who was a black man who lived in America through arguably some of America’s greatest racial tensions, including the Civil War and the Reconstruction that followed — found the imagery of the Good Shepherd a great comfort. And he painted this scene multiple times too, his images moody, mysterious, evocative — and, yes, hopeful.

It was through his religious art that he hoped to put his gentle touch on the world. As he himself said, “My effort has been to not only put the Biblical incident in the original setting … but at the same time give the human touch ‘which makes the whole world kin’ and which ever remains the same.”

And so, without any ado…

Psalm 23

Bible Quote failure... Temporary error from the BibleGet server. Please try again in a few minutes
The Good Shepherd, by Henry Ossawa Tanner, c. 1902-03. Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, United States of America.
The Good Shepherd, by Henry Ossawa Tanner, c. 1902-03. Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, United States of America.
Bible Quote failure... Temporary error from the BibleGet server. Please try again in a few minutes
The Good Shepherd, by Henry Ossawa Tanner, c. 1922. Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey, United States.
The Good Shepherd, by Henry Ossawa Tanner, c. 1922. Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey, United States.
Bible Quote failure... Temporary error from the BibleGet server. Please try again in a few minutes
The Good Shepherd (Atlas Mountains, Morocco), by Henry Ossawa Tanner, c. 1930. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., United States.
The Good Shepherd (Atlas Mountains, Morocco), by Henry Ossawa Tanner, c. 1930. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., United States.
Bible Quote failure... Temporary error from the BibleGet server. Please try again in a few minutes
The Good Shepherd, by Henry Ossawa Tanner, c. 1914. New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States.
The Good Shepherd, by Henry Ossawa Tanner, c. 1914. New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States.

Kyrie eleison.

Karina Tabone

Karina Tabone is a wife, mother of four, author, blogger, and lover of Christian artwork. She's the author of the Illustrated Rosary series, which pairs every prayer of the Rosary with beautiful religious artwork. She likes also milkshakes, sunshine, and mystery novels. Follow her on Twitter at @illustr_prayer.

One thought on “The Lord Is My Shepherd

Leave a Reply