Dear Friends of The Park,
The two texts for this week are not only well known but are also very simple and moving texts. The image is a moving one, filled with tenderness, even for us urban dwellers who may have never even seen a live sheep up close—the image of the shepherd who carefully, faithfully, and lovingly watches over his sheep. And this is no ordinary shepherd, but this is the good shepherd so different from those who approach the sheep as thieves and bandits who can bring no good. Let me share with you this wonderful paraphrasing of Psalm 23 by Eugene Peterson:
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.
Even when the way goes through Death Valley,
I’m not afraid when you walk by my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.
You serve me a six-course dinner
right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.
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.
In preparation for the sermon this coming Sunday, I invite each of you to say this Psalm as a prayer at least once throughout your day. Savor the words and images. Listen to the words in your heart of hearts—“you let me catch my breath”—“you send me in the right direction”—“I am not afraid when you walk by my side”—“you revive my drooping head”—“your beauty and love chase after me.” How truly marvelous that God does all this for us, and how often we remain so unaware!
See you Sunday at The Park!
Rev. Dr. Daisy L. Machado