URC Daily Devotion Sunday, 10 March 2024

Sunday, 10 March 2024 The Fourth Sunday of Lent 
 
Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures
where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me,
to revive my drooping spirit.

He guides me along the right path;
he is true to his name.
If I should walk in the valley of darkness
no evil would I fear.
You are there with your crook and your staff;
with these you give me comfort.

You have prepared a banquet for me
in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil;
my cup is overflowing.

Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me
all the days of my life.
In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell
for ever and ever.

Reflection

Psalm 23 has a certain place in our society, whether it’s as a popular choice for funerals or simply, for those of a certain age, the opening theme to The Vicar of Dibley.

Maybe this is why I have a bit of a love hate relationship with it – familiarity can breed contempt. 

Yet if I read this psalm without my usual baggage, I am reminded that it contains wonderful images which are both a reminder of what life can be like and also the comfort that our faith in God can offer.

Perhaps it is prescient that I am writing this reflection as we approach Christmas, the first adverts are on the television and the shops are full of all we need to make the perfect festive season.  I am also conscious that you shall be reading this in Lent which, although a more subdued period, shops will still be full, this time of Easter Eggs.

Psalm 23 reveals how countercultural our faith is.  In a society, and indeed a world, that is increasingly consumer-oriented Psalm 23 reminds us that all we actually need in life is God.

Living at a time where greed is good and we can never have enough of anything, to say all we need is God seems both naïve and rather quaint.  In essence what Psalm 23 is telling us is that in our life and indeed our death we need worry about nothing, God will provide.

But that is incredibly hard, we are frequently told that the only person we can truly rely on is ourselves and to rely on others, whether that’s family or the state, means we have somehow failed. 

Yet when we accept the Lord as our shepherd, we truly have everything we need.

Prayer

Please reread Psalm 23 slowly then pray:
Lord, despite what I may think, I am not self-sufficient but one of your needy sheep.  
Thank you for loving me and encouraging me to be all that I can be.  Amen
 

Today’s writer

The Rev’d Branwen Rees, East Wales Regional Minister

Copyright

The Psalms: An Inclusive Language Version based on the Grail translation from the Hebrew © 1963, 1986 The Grail (England) GIA Publications

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