Psalm 23 to the Tune of Crimond

We can’t quite believe we’ve reached Good Shepherd Sunday already. At least we would have if this were a Sunday that figured in the Scottish Episcopal calendar. As far as we can gather it doesn’t, beyond the thematically relevant acclamation and a sudden influx of hymns on the same, and alas, none of them Crimond.

We have special affection for Crimond because for 14 years that was our school hymn and we sang it on a Monday morning. We still default to the descant on the even-numbered verses, a residual effect of being a soprano in the school choir. We can still sing it too –and we’re absurdly proud of this –without a hymnal. Crimond though is one of those settings that seems to be innately Presbyterian. Certainly we were assured when learning our school’s history that that was what drew Ms. Margaret Syme to the hymn all those years ago.

In the broader sense it doesn’t really matter. We’ve laid down roots here, a love of many of our church’s prevalent hymns among these. We don’t particularly need the N.E.H. for ‘Faithful Shepherd, Feed Me,’ or ‘The King of Love My Shepherd Is’ if it comes to that. But none of these is part of our history like Crimond. None of them reduces us to that child who was mesmerised by an off-centre overhead projection of a paraphrased psalm 23 and who learned to sing for love of it.

It’s for no better reason than this that we find we miss Canada this fourth Sunday in Eastertide. Specifically we miss Rosedale Presbyterian with its spectacular choir and 10 Elm Avenue, where for so many years we sang the top line to a much-neglected piece of hymnody.

We’ll leave you with the closest arrangement we can find to the one we remember loving.

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