Anchored in Quiet Waters: a psalm for those who live on or near the water, and even those who don’t.

Posted: January 18, 2020 in Uncategorized

Anchor

The 23rd Psalm for those who live on or near the water, and even those who don’t.

While setting up my new office in the U.S. coastal city of Savannah, Georgia, I came across this unique version of the 23rd Psalm by Reverend Ramon F. Reno, Chaplain of the Liberty Ship S.S. John W. Brown. I’m living close to the Atlantic Ocean and the Savannah River again, and the church I serve, Montgomery Presbyterian, is surrounded by small islands and rivers, and is located in a historic fishing community. This version of King David’s famous Psalm seems more appropriate than ever. If you live on or near water, and even if you don’t, I pray that it is as meaningful for you as it is for me.

The Lord is my Captain, I shall not want.
He makes me sail to pleasant bays,
He anchors me in quiet waters.
He restores my soul.
He guides me in the right sea lanes, for his name’s sake.
Even though I sail through the seas of death
I fear no evil,
For You are with me.
Your chart and Your compass
They comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
In the waters of adversity.
You anoint my head with blessings,
My cup overflows.
Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life,
And I shall anchor in the harbor of the Lord forever.

– written by the Reverend Ramon F. Reno

Comments
  1. Judy Ishmael says:

    From Huron, Ohio on Lake Erie, love and appreciate this version of the 23rd Psalm!!!

    Sending lots of good wishes to you as you begin the latest chapter in your life at the Montgomery Presbyterian Church!!

    Judy Hartley Huron,Ohio >

    • Thanks so much, Judy. Huron is a lovely place along the Lake Erie shores! When I was in Cleveland I often felt that we could/should be singing more hymns that connect our the deep waters of our faith with the beautiful waters of Lake Erie at our at our city’s doorstep. Two of my favorites were “I Feel the Winds of God Today” and, one from my childhood, “Will Your Anchor Hold”. Thanks again for the kind words!

      Blessings of Grace and Peace,
      Mark.

  2. Amie Reno says:

    Hi, my father was Ramon Reno, the adapter of this version of the 23rd Psalm. Thank you for crediting him! He passed away a few years ago, but I believe that he’d be happy to see that his words are still reaching people.

    I’m wondering where you ran across the Psalm? I know it used to be posted in the chapel of the SS John W. Brown, but it’s been years since I’ve been to the ship & I don’t know if the psalm is still there.

    My father was a minister for many years. The Brown moved to Baltimore, and members of Project Liberty Ship began the work to restore the ship, shortly before he retired. After the restoration, he took on the role of chaplain to the crew. He always loved the sea.

    I just happened to stumble across your blog, but I’m glad I did.

    • Hi Amie, I’m delighted to hear from you. Sorry to learn of your father’s passing but, yes, his wonderful words are still reaching people!

      I took part in a funeral “at sea” for a friend of mine, a retired sailor here in Savannah about 15 or 16 years ago. It may have been when the SS John W. Brown was visiting the Port of Savannah, although, I don’t recall the name of the ship. I know that it was a significant one as there were other burials happening while it was in town as well. There was a chaplain aboard the ship that day (your father?) who read that psalm. I was very impressed and asked for a copy. I tucked it into the front of a book, and then inside a box when I moved to Cleveland, Ohio in 2008. I hadn’t seen it again until I moved back to Savannah last fall and was placing some books on a shelf. Your father’s beautiful rendition of the 23rd Psalm fell out. It seemed like such an important reading of the 23rd Psalm that I felt that it didn’t deserve to be hiding inside a book any longer. I shared it here hoping that it might speak to others the way it spoke to me.

      My dad was a pastor, too. I feel incredibly blessed to have been raised in the church (although we had our challenges along the way). I never cease to be impressed by the people who tell me how my dad’s ministry impacted their lives. I’m glad to hear that finding your dad’s version of the 23rd Psalm here on my website was meaningful for you in a similar way.

      I’m sure your father had a big impact and positive influence on your life. May God continue to work through your life that you may bring God’s light of love and peace to the world wherever you go.

      Blessings of grace and peace,
      Mark

      • Amie Reno says:

        Hi, Mark, thank you for the story! My father “retired” from being the John W. Brown’s chaplain around 15 years ago, so you probably did meet him on one of his last voyages, if that was indeed the Brown.

        When he first began volunteering with the Brown, most of the crew members were World War II veterans–as was my father, but he was one of the youngest vets of that war. As chaplain, my dad performed some weddings for crew members or their families, but unfortunately also conducted a lot of funerals. Many of the crew members wanted to be buried at sea, and I know he read the Psalm during the burial ceremonies. I believe he’d already adapted the Psalm before he became the Brown’s chaplain, but I’m not positive.

        Thank you for your kind words. Blessings to you as well,

        Amie

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