The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Most mornings I select one of the readings assigned for the day, or a passage that appears in one of my daily meditation emails. Today they were all about being persecuted - the Psalm and Jeremiah and Acts, all of them. After reading them and finding nothing that resonated, I sat back, lit a rosemary scented candle and put on a recording of flutist Michael Morton’s Meditation CD. Breathing deeply with my eyes closed, I heard my inner voice speaking the beginning verses of the 23rd Psalm.
I don’t know what it is about that Psalm. It is maybe the best known of all the 150 psalms in the Bible. It is written on pretty much anything that one can write on - wall hangings and plates and bookmarks and phone cases and who knows what all else. It is the most requested scripture reading for funerals. It has been put to music by a multitude of composers. One might think that it would have become meaningless by now.
And yet - it is one of the psalms that people turn to when their hearts are troubled. It reminds us that God cares about us, and cares for us. Somehow when we read it or hear it spoken - even by our own inner voice - it evokes a feeling of peace. In my mind’s eye, I can see the lush green pasture and the placid pond it contains. I am confident that all my needs will be met, that my troubled heart will be restored to calm. I have faith that as long as I pay attention to the Shepherd I will not go astray. I am comforted knowing that the flock I belong to is all around me, that I am not alone - ever.
Loving God, on this day at the end of a long and difficult week I remember that you are my Shepherd, my guide along the way. Grant that I may pay attention to your direction, so that I might continue on the right path. Amen.