Friday, July 16 2021
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
We profess our loyalty to God. God provides life and security. God is all we need! We shall lack nothing if we follow our shepherd. This is a way of being. Put your trust in God. Seek ye first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you (Matthew 6:33). The word shepherd in Hebrew can also mean friend or pal. Christianity is a relationship with our shepherd. The relationship that we have with Jesus Christ is passed on to others by the love that we show to those in need and by our burning desire for justice and righteousness.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
Palestine is a desert and the sheep need to be led to green grass to eat and water to drink. This means that we will have sustenance (food and drink) from God. It means to be safe from harm. We wear our masks when necessary, stay a safe distance apart, and get our vaccines because we don’t want to spread this disease any longer. In fact we want to do what is necessary to end this pandemic, get our economy back on track, and care for those who have been affected by this past year financially, physically and mentally. The shepherd needed faith because there was not much sustenance in the desert. They needed to find food for that day. Tomorrow was always in God’s hands.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
God keeps me alive. Food, drink and shelter are provided. We depend solely on God. God draws us to the path of righteousness and justice . While some will be selfish and gather more than they need for themselves at the cost of others, Jesus teaches us to be self-giving. The environment is a great example of this. We need to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels and we need to reduce our use of waste products like plastics that are filling our oceans and landfills. We need to stop using poisons and eating carcinogens. We need to eat healthy, exercise, rest, and give to others to maintain our good health. This pandemic has taught us that many folks don’t have enough access to healthy foods and have developed poor habits. As a parish, we need to accept our differences and work together.
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.
This puts God in charge of protecting us from walking in the shadows. God leads us home from exile. Jesus shows us the way from brokenness into wholeness and from death into life. We walk through the desert to higher ground. Jesus came out the other side of death to lead us to Beloved community. We don’t end up in the desert. Life doesn’t end in death. Death is always right there. But Shadows can’t hurt you. Angels are with you. He will send his angels (Mark 13:27). The shepherd is with us through the challenging times. The host of heaven is with you. 276 years of St. John’s folks are already through the desert and comfort us by their prayers for us.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
God is sovereign. God is in control, not us. In this week’s Gospel of Mark, Jesus asks the disciples to come with him and rest. We can follow a path of a selfish, unhealthy lifestyle of the shepherds in this week’s lesson from Jeremiah or the self-sacrificing path to glory. God’s Kingdom is right here and we need to witness to others the love in our hearts that overflows to others.
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.
The word mercy in Hebrew is hesed (God’s love or mercy) Death has been rendered harmless in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God offers every single one of us abundant life that is characterized by goodness and mercy.
In Christ’s goodness and mercy,