Each leaf seems in sharper focus today, as if my vision prescription was adjusted overnight. The dew sparkles on long blades of grass. I took a long walk to better admire the brilliant colors. The air is crisp, the sky so blue, the sun illuminates branches and warms us through windows.
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.
Psalm 23:1-3 (CEB)
These words never seem to get old. Perhaps you prefer the traditional translation. Recite it and feel yourself gently led. I am reminded that rest is good. To sleep, to quench our thirst, to be alive. I may not be brilliant today, but I can observe and enjoy that which is. Breathe it in. Exhale.
Where you are, it may be dark today. Overcast. Those times are harder. A cloud passes in front of the sun. Suddenly it is all shadows. People are struggling today. Sometimes I am one. Sometimes you are too. We all know that feeling- when sunny days seem far away, difficult to remember, hard to hope that they will come again.
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.
Psalm 23:4 (CEB)
We pray for those in darkest valleys, that they can keep on walking, one step at a time. We pray for those in danger, that fear would not overwhelm them. We pray for the Lord’s presence and protection.
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!
Psalm 23:5 (CEB)
I am surprised at how often God is portrayed as one who sets the table, prepares extravagant meals, pours the wine to fill our cups more than full. The role of a child, a servant, a cook, a friend. Do we see God in our waitress? Our hairdresser? In the cleaning staff wiping up spills? As we work, do we feel ourselves co-laboring with God?
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.
Psalm 23:6 (CEB)
I am grateful to be pursued by goodness, faithfulness, love. I do not always have the strength to seek. I need them to follow me persistently. Every day pursued by love. Sometimes I don’t see it. Or feel it. But I choose it. To live in the Lord’s house, every day, my whole life long. And in God’s presence forever.
May we each find quiet rest today. May we be delivered from our fears, protected in the midst of darkness and danger. May we have courage to eat and drink, serve and be served, though enemies surround us. May we know the joy of being pursued by love and goodness. May we find shelter in the Lord’s house today and every day, now and forever.