For many of us the words of Psalm 23 are a part of our life experiences. When do you recall learning this Psalm or hearing the words? Who read it to you? This translation from Eugene Peterson may bring this familiar Psalm into a new place with the words he uses to share the message and prayer.
Psalm 23 (The Message)
God, my shepherd! I don't need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I'm not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd's crook makes me feel secure. You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing. Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I'm back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.
As we move into the sixth month of experiencing a pandemic here, how do these words have new meaning for you? I know that many of us are navigating new territory, making difficult decisions and experiencing hard situations.
These words from David Burroughs, president of Passport, Inc., brought new insights for me about this Psalm. "When I speak this Psalm aloud, I feel protected and cared for. I breathe deeply, trusting God knows our needs and will literally keep us alive by leading us to safety, rest, and water. God knows our days and sustains us. But there is an important role that we play - we have to decide to follow the shepherd. This means that we won't always know where we are going, and probably won't always be happy with our current direction. But if we can let go of the lead and simply follow, God will guide us, helping us get to where we need to be."
As the challenges our church faces impact my role on our staff, I pray for God's leading for where I need to be. Hear these words and music from a Presbyterian Church in Maryland as we continue to reflect on the words of Psalm 23 and our current prayers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70whGbrrj8k