Thu Mar 16-Into Life

Psalm 23 (CEB)

1 The Lord is my shepherd.
    I lack nothing.
He lets me rest in grassy meadows;
    he leads me to restful waters;
        he keeps me alive.
He guides me in proper paths
    for the sake of his good name.

Even when I walk through the darkest valley,
    I fear no danger because you are with me.
Your rod and your staff—
    they protect me.

You set a table for me
    right in front of my enemies.
You bathe my head in oil;
    my cup is so full it spills over!
Yes, goodness and faithful love
    will pursue me all the days of my life,
    and I will live in the Lord’s house
    as long as I live.


Today I heard one of my colleagues preach a wonderful sermon from this psalm. Contrary to what you might think, the best-loved passages of scripture are often the hardest to preach. That’s because scriptures like this overflow with so much rich imagery and so many layers of profound personal and theological meaning, that it’s almost impossible to add anything to them. But our preacher today opened up this passage in a way that I’ve not experienced in many years.

There was one particular line in her sermon that I will never forget. She was speaking about how often we hear this passage read at funerals. As a result, we begin to cling to the “valley of the shadow of death” imagery, until we can’t see it through any other lens. “But the 23rd psalm isn’t about death, it’s about life,” she said.

Wow! Then I started to look back over the psalm and think about it – she is absolutely right!

I lack nothing. He lets me rest. Leads me to restful waters. He keeps me alive. I fear no danger. Your rod and staff protect me. You set a table. You bathe my head. My cup is full. Goodness and love pursue me – all the days of my life.

This is the story of God’s loving care for us – God’s shepherding guidance, provision, and protection. Even during this season where we reflect on our own mortality, remember that God’s leading is not into death, but into life!

by Joe Monahan

For Pondering & Prayer

When you hear the 23rd psalm, what do you think about? What images are the most meaningful for your relationship with God?

Prayer: Lord, we thank you that you are the Good Shepherd who leads us into life. Amen.

Our Lenten Series

For our Lent series this year, we’ll be using the Adam Hamilton book Luke: Jesus and the Outsiders, Outcasts, and Outlaws. At his website, you can find a 40-day reading plan to help you read through the Gospel of Luke during Lent. And join us for worship, in-person or online, at 9:00 & 10:30 every Sunday.

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