Psalm 23, 4-6
Something to read
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.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
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.
King James Version
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.
New Revised Standard Version
Something to think about
We read these words post-Easter. The morning has dawned when the garden tomb holds no body. Christ is risen. Mary has heard her name called by the one she saw buried. Death has been undone. Resurrection has unfolded a new world. That's our context for reading that we need not fear the valley of the shadow of death, and that our cup will run over with blessing and goodness.
Where life is at its most despairing, God turns things around. Where hope seems most completely vanquished, God wins and we are drawn onwards into a most unexpected victory.
But notice where this places us. The consequence of the Psalm is about where we live; where home is for us. We will live in the house of the Lord for ever. God's action and intervention transforms our living.
We are made to be worshippers and people of praise. We are made to be children of God. And that's exactly where God places us.
Something to do
Dwelling in God's house is an invitation to praise and adoration. Why not find, today, an object that prompts your praise? Pick up something from creation, like a leaf or stone, and keep it with you today.
Put it on your desk, in the car, in your pocket. Touch it and treasure it. Let it be a tangible link to God's house within which you dwell. And offer praise as you hold it throughout the day.
Something to pray
Lord of all,
I offer you this day as my offering of thankfulness to you.
Life is your gift to me.
You set me within your creation and offer me your protection.
I may face struggle and despair,
I may know doubt and evil thoughts,
but your welcome sustains me.
You are the beginning of all I am.
You are the destination of all my longings.
In you I place my trust.
Today's contributor is the Rev Neil Thorogood, Director of Pastoral Studies at Westminster College, Cambridge, and author of the Surefish.co.uk monthly prayers.