Someone made the comment the other day that they'd like to see the Scriptures discussed a bit more, so here it goes.
The 23rd Psalm is used at just about every funeral I go to. As I listened to it being sung on Friday, I paid attention to the words,
The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I shall want.
In green pastures you let me graze;
to safe waters you lead me;
you restore my strength.
You guide me along the right path
for the sake of your name.
Even when I walk through a dark valley,
I fear no harm for you are at my side;
your rod and staff give me courage.
You set a table before me
as my enemies watch;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Only goodness and love will pursue me
all the days of my life;
I will dwell in the house of the Lord
for years to come.
The words are very rich and beautiful, but what do they really mean? What was the Psalmist trying to say? As I was sitting in the pew, I thought that most of us don't really experience this kind of life. Every need met? Restored strength? No fear? Only goodness and kindness?
On the surface, this doesn't sound like the life of anyone I know. Instead, most of us want more and more. We're exhausted most of the time, and we're worried with just about everything. We long to see goodness and kindness, not only in our lives but in the world at large. So, was they Psalmist spinning a tale, making it all up based upon a dream? I don't think so.
The words to this Psalm are words of trust. This is what will happen when we keep our covenant with God. This is how it will be for those who are faithful. Yes, it's an ideal, but it's also doable. As St. Paul says, it's a prize worth running for. Will it be easy? Nope. What really good thing ever comes easy?
This is a challenging piece of Scripture. We need to ask ourselves what we need to do to live this kind of life, to have this amount of trust. Do we even seek the Lord's guidance, or do we try to do it all on our own? There's lots to think about with this one.