‘I Got A Friend’

I am involved in a local community service that includes some of the most marginalised and disadvantaged people in our neighbourhood.

Psalm 23, portraying God as a good shepherd, leading, feeding and looking after his sheep, protecting them with his ‘rod’ and ‘staff’ and providing for them ‘in green pastures’ by ‘still waters, is a favourite of our vulnerable high-risk, high-needs friends. But the rural images and bucolic vocabulary of the Psalm paint a picture of God that is a very distant and overly romanticised for contemporary inner city dwellers.

So one Sunday night, during the service, I workshopped a modern urban version of the Psalm, portraying God as ‘the best friend we’ve ever had’, ‘walking beside us on a straight and narrow path’, ‘keeping an eye on us in a fight’, ‘putting on parties to keep our spirits up’, ‘serving a heavenly home-made brew’, ‘filling our empty bottomless cups’. I then wrote some easy-to-play, easy-to-sing music, so that we, as often ‘chronically depressed’, ‘occasionally psychotic’ people, could sing our 21st Century version of the 23rd Psalm, as a rousing defiant faith-affirming drinking song in the face of disease, disability and death.

I Got A Friend

(A West End 21st Century 23rd Psalm)

I’ve got to say I’m happy. I’m happy – that’s a fact.

I’ve never been so happy. Got the best friend I’ve ever had. Can you believe it?


I got a friend. I got a friend. My God, I got a real good friend. (x2)

We walk by the Brisbane River – beneath the trees in Orleigh Park.

We talk about our plans for the future, on the straight and narrow path.

Can you believe it?


We travel through Fortitude Valley. It’s scary late at night.

But he’s always there beside me – he keeps an eye on me in a fight.

Can you believe it?


He gladly puts on parties – to keep our spirits up.

Serves a heavenly home-made brew, fills my empty bottomless cup.

Can you believe it?


I go to his place (repeat) – at the end of the day (repeat).

At the end of the day (repeat) – it’s the place I’ll stay (repeat).

Dave Andrews

I’ve got a friend (mp3) (sheet music)

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