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Living the 23rd Psalm

May 7, 2017 - Rev. Victoria Robb Powers

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Psalm 23 is one of the most recognizable scriptures in our Bible and it has offered comfort to many of us when we were walking in “the valley of the shadow of death.” However, if we dig a bit deeper than what is familiar, this Psalm also possesses the capacity to transform us as it shows a different way of living.

The sheep who follow the Good Shepherd look forward to the one who leads the way and lets us know that everything is okay as we experience life’s ups and downs. However, we tend to be driven people instead of people led from the front – a culture valuing individualism and independence over committed following. We are driven forward by things behind us – fear of failure, a haunting past, passion for success, or the constant demand to produce – and these forces that push us don’t allow our souls any rest. However, spiritual rest and transformation can be found in learning to live the 23rd Psalm.

If we are willing to read the 23rd Psalm as prescriptive, then two things will happen. First, we will stop running from our fears. Second, we will no longer be consumed by consumption – we are not defined by the things we own or the salaries we earn, but we can become the people God wants us to be.

“Imagine a world in which people live communally like sheep, where we trust the God who guides us, where we embrace that we do ‘not want.’” Perhaps we would be one step closer to the Kingdom of God.

Food for Thought:

  • What are some of the fears that drive you forward and prevent you experiencing God as your Shepherd? Pray for the strength to let those go this week.
  • Rest itself can be a fearful practice at times, triggering the valley of the shadow of stress. Pause and read Psalm 23 today. Notice both the comforting presence of the Shepherd as well as the call to follow the Shepherd’s leading without fear.
  • Spend a few minutes making a list of things you spend a lot of your time, energy, or income consuming. Choose one that you might need to abstain from, or that you might use to show someone else God's love this week.

May you walk through this week emboldened by the possibility of a life without fear or compulsion to consume. May you hear God’s comforting voice and find peace, even in the midst of busy days. Amen.

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