Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Psalm 23

Okay, at the risk of being completely boring, I have yet another psalm to write about. But this psalm reading is simply blowing me away. And hey, this is a big one, even though it’s short.

Yesterday was Psalm 23 day. (As you know, I’m reading a psalm a day when I sit down to pray.) I read it through once and thought, that’s nice, and was ready to move on, when it occurred to me to challenge myself and see if I had it memorized. I mean, I’ve read it a million times, haven’t I?

So I took the next ten minutes or so to memorize the thing. I did *not* have it memorized, but now I definitely do. For once I had it committed to memory in a cursory fashion, I then used it as a jumping off point for all whom I was praying for that day.

First was me, of course. I do pray for myself first before anyone else, to see myself as an agent for God on the behalf of those I hope to bless. So I closed my eyes and prayed with the 23rd Psalm, just for me. And you know, it actually covered just about everything that’s on my mind about my family and job and future and bank account. I was mightily comforted by the end.

Next on my list was church. I’m now chairman of the executive board at my church, and the board as a group has committed to praying for church every day. So as I mentally recited the psalm, I replaced all the “me”s and “I”s with “we” and “us.” “He maketh *us* to lie down in green pastures…” etc. Really powerful stuff, made me feel a new unity with my fellow members.

So I was pretty jazzed by the possibilities here when I turned to the individuals on my prayer list. And this was even more fun grammatically, for I made all the “me”s into “you,” as though I were talking to the person, and made all the “thou”s that refer to God into “He.” So, “He preparest a table before you in the presence of your enemies,” etc. Such a settled sense of peace came over me, I felt such confidence for folks.

The tenderest time though was applying this psalm to my children, whom I also pray for every day. Thinking of my radiant daughter as having her soul restored by the Divine and of my adventurous son being led on the paths of righteousness gave my mother’s heart some needed encouragement.

So here’s that psalm for your perusal today. Also, don’t miss the version in Science and Health if you’ve not read it lately.

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

--Psalm 23

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At 2/07/2006 03:50:00 PM, Anonymous Rev. Veronika Birken said...

Dear Laura,
I love the way you are using this wonderful healing psalm for your practice. Here is my version of the psalm to share:
23rd PSALM

(After David)

I AM the good Shepherd; you cannot lack.
Come and lie down in the evergreen pastures of My peace: there I lead you to the still waters of My Love and in the path of Truth for My Name’s sake.

Ye, though you dream of the valley of death, you cannot fear: for I AM with you, Life eternal.

I prepare a table before you, set with My gifts of grace.
I anoint you with My Love.
You live in the abundance of My Presence.

Goodness and mercy can never leave you
because you dwell in the Mind of Love

Love and peace, Veronika

At 2/07/2006 04:22:00 PM, Blogger Laura said...

now there's a pronoun switch I hadn't thought of! wonderful!



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