The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures
and leads me beside still waters.
He revives my soul *
and guides me along right pathways for his Name’s sake.
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You spread a table before me in the presence of those who trouble me;
you have anointed my head with oil,
and my cup is running over.
Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Usually, we hear this psalm spoken in King James English and during a funeral. Yet, this fourth weekend of Easter we will sing this psalm again.
I think this psalm can offer a much broader application to our lives than just funerals. In this Eastertide as we remember the resurrection of our Lord and all its implications, what does the Lord as our shepherd mean for us? What does it mean when we encounter such disturbing news of war in Ukraine? Or if we dig deeper into the news and we read about famine in Afghanistan, Yemen, Uganda, and elsewhere? How is God asking us to experience this world?
Perhaps Psalm 23 is a reminder God being with us through all our pain and also our joy. We can allow this psalm to center us, to speak to our hearts, and with ourselves grounded in God’s love, we can be present to a world in pain.
Peace and grace,
Fr. Jonathan Evans