Friday, April 4, 2014

Thinking About the Psalms

Have you ever stopped to think about the author of the psalms, especially this psalm you heard read today, the 23rd Psalm?  The 23rd was one of the first psalms I memorized. I bet it was the first for quite a few folks.
It’s so familiar that if someone starts reciting it we pick up right along with them because it’s embedded in our brain. The words are so familiar because they’ve been recited for so many generations. Mostly at someone’s funeral service these days.
Even though there aren’t many sheep or shepherds around anymore we, who live in these rural communities, can still relate to a shepherd boy and a poet king.
This world we live in seems awful hectic at times and we long for still waters and green pastures. Or maybe it’s because of the long winter that we long for the still waters and green pastures.
And sometimes, because of cancer or heart problems or just our age we lift these words up again because we know that in our darkest times God is there and hears our prayers and petitions.
The farm where I grew up had, what I called, a crick running through it. I spent a lot of time alongside that crick because it was quiet there and I could sit and be alone with nature and talk with God. There weren’t any noisy sisters or brothers to bother me. There was just me and God and the crick. Maybe that’s why I find the 23rd Psalm so comforting; it takes me back to a more peaceful, quiet time.
When we read the psalm we understand that he may have been through some dark times, just like us. He may have had enemies, just like us. And he may have found hope in God by sharing a meal with the Lord, just like us.
Reading this psalm gives us a chance to walk with the psalmist as he talks about his trust and faith in God. We can connect with him as he searches for peace, comfort, and God’s grace.
Now there may be some folks who enjoy the hustle and bustle of work and the turmoil that surrounds us when problems develop and they don’t like or appreciate stillness.
But you know, we need the quiet times so we can be regenerated, renewed and strengthened. That’s why I go to Pilgrimage. There’s where I can be filled with God’s Spirit as I pray alone and worship with friends and celebrate the Lord’s Supper every morning as the day begins. My quiet stream was the Platte River and the food in the camp cafeteria was one of the tables the Lord prepared for me and my friends.
So, this week, think about where your quiet waters are, where the Lord prepares your table, where it’s at that you find new strength and the energy to go on. And thank God for the psalmist who these verses for us.

My good friends, God loves you and so do I. Thanks be to God for his grace. Amen.

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