What You Can Learn at WWU . . .

It was a part of the special annual weekend of activities called “March U-Days.” -- A time when Walla Walla University presents its very best face, hosting young people from across NPUC and beyond in the hope they might choose WWU for their continuing education.

From the WWU webpage:

On March 9 at 4 p.m. the Department of Music presented a choir and orchestra concert in the University Church featuring the University Singers choir, I Cantori select choir, and the university symphony orchestra.

However, the “much more” came in the form of strange lyrics performed by I Cantori under the direction of Kraig Scott.  The congregation was hushed as a performance of the modern-day “23rd Psalm” began. Here’s what was performed,

The 23rd Psalm     

The Lord is my Shepherd, I have all I need
She makes me lie down in green meadows
Beside the still waters, She will lead

She restores my soul, She rights my wrongs
She leads me in a path of good things
And fills my heart with songs

Even though I walk, through a dark and dreary land
There is nothing that can shake me
She has said She won't forsake me
I'm in her hand

She sets a table before me, in the presence of my foes
She anoints my head with oil
And my cup overflows

Surely, surely goodness and kindness will follow me
All the days of my life
And I will live in her house
Forever, forever and ever

Glory be to our Mother, and Daughter
And to the Holy of Holies
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be
World, without end *

Not only has the sacred text been altered to accommodate the feminist culture of the day, at the end of the “Psalm” is an additional non-Biblical verse — a portion of the Catholic rosary prayer – the “Our Father.”

The final verse was also changed into “Our Mother, and Daughter and to the Holy of Holies”.   Traditionally repeated while doing the Rosary - on the chain (between the rosary beads), the lyrics concluded with “As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world, without end.” 

A Personal Concern

Music, with its power to deeply permeate the mind, combined with “politically correct” revisionist texts, can permanently embed a false Biblical narrative in the minds of those who hear it. Even more so for students who are assigned to memorize and repeatedly perform it in Union-wide tours.

It breaks my heart to write this article because it’s extremely personal to me.  As a former member of “I Cantori” (when WWU was known as WWC and I Cantori was known as “Schola Cantorum”) I fondly remember the hours of intense rehearsal to learn and gradually memorize the anthems for concerts and tours.  Today, more than fifty years later, a very few notes bring back vivid melodies and lyrics I learned.

An embedded, twisted Scripture, when melded within a musical phrase and placed within the minds of youth today, will remain for a lifetime.  Should we not teach our youth the “straight truth” free from erroneous lyrics?  Is this what parents/students must accept from a Seventh-day Adventist educational institution?

Wise Words from a Faithful Pastor

“The BIBLE is the fully inspired Word of God.
It is the infallible revelation of His will.
It is the authoritative revealer of doctrine,
And it is the trustworthy record of God’s acts in history.

Prayerfully and humbly, read and study the Bible more,
For in it we will find hope for every crisis.
But more importantly, we will find our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ, who died to redeem us from our sins.”

Over twenty concert goers chose to quietly exit the sanctuary and balcony during the revised “23rd Psalm” performance.  When the music ceased there was resounding applause, as is the U-church’s usual concert and church custom. They clap for almost everything.

The Moment of Truth

What will you do when this happens in your church?  Will you sit silently when Scripture is twisted for the sake of current culture?  

Which Lord is your Shepherd? 

“Jesus answered and said unto them, “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.”  Matt. 22:29


 Janet Lundeen Neumann is retired and lives in College Place, Washington near her children and grandchildren.

*The WWU concert was not recorded.

“The 23th Psalm” as conducted by the composer/lyricist, Bobby McFerrin can be viewed here.

McFerrin is best known for his #1 Billboard Hot 100 Chart hit, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. 


[Editor’s Update]:

Name: Ken Vyhmeister

Email Address: ——————

Subject: Your article about WWU

Message:  Just to let you know that I Cantori apparently will no longer perform the piece in question. 

Recognizing the concerns of those who find McFerrin’s interpretation of Psalm 23 challenging, as well as the potential for misunderstanding about the context of the performance, the university has chosen not to perform this piece in the future.”