April 23, 2021
Psalm 23 KJV
Emerald Ave UMC
Tennessee Valley District
Psalm 23 KJV
23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Today’s text is the omnipresent 23rd Psalm which proclaims that “the Lord is my shepherd!” That knowledge is the essential word for great living. In the Middle East, the shepherd leads and the flock follows. Following the shepherd provides comfort, guidance, and strength.
A contemporary Christian song of the 1990’s, has a father sharing with a young daughter, “…when you are lost keep your eye on the cross.” Yesterday, April 22nd, was Earth Day. That says to me: “keep your eyes upon the Creator and Sustainer of us all.” The Cross and the Creator “…leads us beside the still waters and restores our soul.”
At old St. Mary’s Hospital in Knoxville, a church member had suffered a stroke. She was restless to the point of needing to be restrained. As the family gathered, we read out loud the familiar words of this Psalm from the King James Bible. Very quickly the restlessness stopped…when she heard those words that she had memorized in Sunday school, the Lord was her Shepherd again.
My mother-in-law is 103 years old. In almost every conversation, before they part, she tells her daughter, “God Bless You!” In that simple phrase, she continues to invoke the love, the person, and the presence of God for her and her family. At 103 she still follows her Shepherd!
We each make decisions, face crises, and constantly face new dawns. I like the idea of awakening with the peace that “The Lord is my Shepherd” and that I will “dwell in the house of the Lord forever”.
Lord God Almighty! You who “…flung the stars out into the spangled sky1…” anoint us with green pastures and still waters. Restore our soul! Amen.
1 based on the poem “Creation” by James Weldon Johnson