Please join us and reflect on Psalm 23 (aligned with Year B Easter 4)
This version is from the Message translation.
There isn’t much more that one can add to Psalm 23 – it is, in itself a reflection and a meditation and a cry for hopeful redemption, and the expression of weariness and bone-tired-ness and even the shadow of looming death.
I wonder if this Psalm is an opportunity to re-frame:
Even when I don’t have anything, God leads me to grass to lie in and water to drink.
Even when I am deathly afraid and in the dark, God is walking with us.
Even when we are surrounded by enemies, God lifts our heads.
It is not a Psalm of rescue from circumstances, but rather a Psalm of presence in and through circumstances.
I invite you to take some time, to read through this Psalm slowly and reflectively – to pay attention to the things and situations that pop into your mind. Pause and allow God to help you reframe: rather than a prayer of “God rescue me from my circumstances”, allow your heart to ask “Where can I see God’s presence in this circumstance?”
1-3 God, my shepherd!
I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.
4 Even when the way goes through
I’m not afraid
when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook
makes me feel secure.
5 You serve me a six-course dinner
right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.
6 Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.
When we engage with our children and families, how often do we fall back on the hope that God will rescue us from our circumstances? What would change in the way we do ministry if we re-frame to ask “Where is God present?” or “How is God meeting your needs in this?” rather than “God will give you a way out”.
(It is important to note that God doesn’t ask us to stay in abusive situations. Those are not situations where “God is not going to rescue you” is appropriate. The re-framing of “where is God?” is perhaps – God is present in your life in the ways that make escape possible, or to comfort and bring courage to be escape. )
I’d love to hear your thoughts – does this shift in thinking challenge you? How does it, or might it, show up in your own life, or in your ministry?