Read Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters;
                 he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.
 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil;
                for you are with me; your rod and your staff– they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
                you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
                and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD my whole life long.


From Rev. Magdalyn Sebastian, Wheeling, WV; Interim Pastor at Fairhill Manor Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

                Separated as we are by millennia from the time this Psalm was written and our own time, we really don’t get all the pastoral references.   We think we do.   Shepherd cares for sheep and protects them.  Got it.  These are the comforting words said in times of trial.  

                Do we recognize that much of Psalm 23 talks about the shepherd disciplining his sheep?   The shepherd takes the sheep through the routines of eating good food and not something else that would get them sick, of drinking by still waters since running water is frightening, and of gently being kept in line with the rod and staff.   There is peace in knowing someone is taking care of us through the love of discipline—limits–guidance.   We are not left bereft, in fact we are showered with abundant love.

Good Shepherd, we rejoice that you are always guiding and prodding. 
May we respond in life-giving ways.