Psalm 23:A Psalm for Life

Daily Automagical posting by Ted
Halfnotes will be back on March 5th. She will reply to all the comments then.
Thank you!

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The 23rd Psalm is often read at funerals, and most people associate it with death. But if we only see it in a context of loss and bereavement, we’re missing the lessons the passage can teach us on a daily basis. The psalm is printed in quotes, my commentary in parentheses.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (The Creator of the universe has dominion over everything, and yet … God takes interest and compassion in me. How could I possibly want anything more?)

“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” (God is a resting place for my spirit when I can’t find peace anywhere else. The still waters are there to bring me into self-reflection so I can grow.)

“He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his names sake.” (The path of my life may have many twists and turns, but its direction is always toward higher things. As reflections and expressions of God in the human form and among our fellow human beings, we can choose our way, and our choices are a visible manifestation of our spirits.)

“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.” (The shadow of death is not death itself, but the foreboding and feelings of uneasiness and distress that can creep up on us whenever life becomes difficult or uncertain. Even then, regardless of who is with us physically, God is always there. Even if I do not feel as if this is true, God can’t be everywhere in the universe and not with and within me.)

“thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” (I don’t think enemies is necessarily referring to people. I think that many of our enemies come from within ourselves. But even with all of these, the anointing signifies that we are precious to God. It was a ritual performed for kings, for priests, and for the sick, and we can be any or all of these at any given moment. The cup running over shows that God’s love and care for us has no limits. Nothing can contain it, and we will forever be surprised by it.)

“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.” (Nothing can separate us from God or God’s love. Goodness and mercy are certainly things I would enjoy receiving, but I think here, rather than calling them down as blessings, we are reminded that we are the instruments of goodness and mercy in the world, and if we provide these things with gladness to others, then they will never be far from us as shown or given to us by someone else.)

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2 Comments on “Psalm 23:A Psalm for Life”

  1. Glenn Says:

    Halfnote- Very beautiful… the practical implications of a much loved passage.

    Ted- Thanks for keeping the articles coming.

  2. halfnotes Says:

    Glenn,

    My hope, eventually, is to do all the psalms this way, perhaps not on this blog, but … I think it would be a pretty cool book. Thanks for your visits and comments. Thanks also for Ted for posting articles for me and otherwise holding down the fort while I was away.


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