I’d say at this moment, this is my favorite hymn. We sang it in church occasionally for years, and I let it just wash over me and never paid attention to it until I heard it at the funeral of Fr. Walter Sheffield, one of our parish’s most beloved priests. It was his favorite song. It was him to a tee.
Fr. Walter gave of himself right up to the end of his life. Toward the end, he would try to say mass and get confused. But he loved to say mass and loved to be there with people. You’d definitely go to other priests to discuss canon law or theology, but you’d go to Fr. Walter for a friendly chat or for a supportive ear. He was that kind of guy.
When I was younger, I wanted to be the type you’d go to to discuss philopsophy and theology and other heady topics. That’s how I wanted to be known (and still do on my weaker days.) But when I grow up, I think I’d like to be more like Fr. Walter, known for love and service that never gives up. Always a friendly and supportive shoulder to lean on.
So the Servant song was his his favorite song. And I guess I want it to be my favorite song too. I sing it for morning prayer often. As a reminder.
Brother let me be your servant.
Let me be as Christ to you.
Pray that I may have the grace
To let you be my servant to.
We are pilgrims on a journey
We are brothers on the road.
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and share the load.
I will hold the Christ light for you.
In the nighttime of your fear.
I will hold my hand out to you,
Speak the peace you long to hear.
I will weep when you are weeping.
When you laugh, I’ll laugh with you.
I will share your joy and sorrow
‘Til we’ve seen this journey through.
When we sing to God in heaven
We will find such harmony
Born of all we’ve known together
Of Christ’s love and agony.
— Richard Gillard