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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, April 20, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | 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. (NRSV)

You might have heard this psalm before. In fact, I’m assuming that we’ve all heard it. It’s one of the most recited passages for Christians and Jews. It’s versatile, and it’s wide-reaching. God is our shepherd. God gives us all we have and need. Because of God, “goodness and mercy” will follow us our whole lives. This is really great news!

So, how are we really doing with it?

Yes, God is the shepherd providing us with rest and mercy and walks with us in hard times. But how are we doing with this?

How have you offered someone rest lately? Not just rest, but true rest that brings wholeness. How have we walked with others so they fear a little less? Maybe offering a kind hand or word or simply looking someone in the eye as you pass them on the street and offering a smile. How have we done at preparing tables for others? Not just for Sunday Night Suppers, but creating spaces where others are fed, nourished, and given common space to come together on an equal playing field? How have we offered mercy and goodness to others who are in need of mercy, forgiving a debt or an instance where someone has wronged us?

As you go throughout your day, think about the small ways you can live into the words of Psalm 23 for others and rest knowing that God is always our never-ending shepherd.

God of love and mercy and hope and life, allow us to rest in your strength. Help us to find ways to live out these words in our lives and actions. Amen.

Written by Shelley Donaldson, Senior High Youth Coordinator

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