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Savior Like A Shepherd Lead Us

Every generation seems to have a singer whose voice is deemed to be the voice of that generation. Think of Jolson, Sinatra, Streisand and the like.

Before any of them there was the beautiful and beloved voice of Ira Sankey. Sankey was known as the “Sweet-Singer Of Methodism” and he accompanied D.L. Moody in his tent meetings around the world.

One day, Sankey was traveling by steamship and was asked to sing. He obliged by singing “Saviour, Like A Shepherd Lead Us”, a hymn by Dorothy A. Thrupp When he finished a man approached him and asked if he had served in the Union army during the war and if he had been on picket duty in the summer of 1862. Sankey said that he had.

The man said that he had also been on picket duty but as a Confederate soldier. One night, while he was concealed in the shadows, he watched a Union soldier appear in the moonlight. As he raised his musket to fire, he drew aim, zeroing in on the figure’s head, and began to squeeze the trigger. At that moment, his target began to sing.

The man paused to hear the amazing voice as it sang a song his own mother had sung to him many times before. It was the Shepherd Song and the man recognized that he could never end the life of someone that could sing about his Saviour and Shepherd in such a way. He lowered his musket and disappeared back into the woods, letting Sankey pass without harm.

He recognized that voice the instant he heard Sankey sing those same lyrics again, many years later. His noble thinking became a gift to the world. By retreating, instead of shooting, he was able to share that magical voice with the whole world. Here is the song that saved Ira Sankey’s life: