As I sit down to write this devotion, I can hear the sound of our lawn mower outside my living room windows. Taking a peek I see Erik laboring hard on the lawn. It’s a perfect day to mow. It isn’t raining, it isn’t windy, it is sunny…but not too hot. Perfect. We have two lawn mowers, actually. One is a push mower and the other is a riding mower. We moved from Ohio with the push mower which worked pretty well out in the town in which we lived, but then we moved to the country in Lancaster and needed something a little more powerful. Fortunately, my parents down-sized around the same time we moved and their smaller place didn’t need a riding mower. The riding mower has been a gem for the large swaths of grass that surround our house. So why then, on this fine day, is Erik using the push mower? Well, perhaps you have a parcel of land that rolls with hills and dips down to valleys. The land near our house definitely has some hills and valleys too. There’s an embankment that is pretty steep and dips into places that would be unsafe for a riding mower to traverse.
Watching Erik mow on this delightful spring day reminds me of Psalm 23 assigned as the psalm for this Good Shepherd Sunday. It is one of our more beloved and familiar psalms. A few years ago while serving in Ohio I lead Confirmation Sunday and asked our confirmand to choose their favorite Bible verse to be incorporated in the service. I was expecting our confirmand to choose one or two verses from the Bible–something that had personal meaning to them. One young lady chose Psalm 23 in its entirety. I was a bit surprised to have an entire Psalm chosen for the occasion, so I asked why she chose this particular poem of our biblical witness. She said that she liked how it incorporated all of life–the happy, the sad, the scary, the comforting. How wise she is! There is a lot to life’s journey, isn’t there? And through it all, we have a shepherd who is with us.
Psalm 139 comes to mind, as well. An adaptation of this psalm was sung by our New Day Praise band during offering today. A few of the words resonate with me:
O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
Even before a word is on my tongue,
O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.
Whether you are spending this fine day mowing the lawn, tending to the garden, relaxing on the sofa or starting your next journey, our Good Shepherd is with you. We don’t know if tomorrow is a day of green pasture, deep shadowed valley, calm water, tables filled with food or enemies or cups overflowing with good things. We do know that our shepherd is already there, waiting to guide, comfort, instruct and love.
Peace, Pastor Sarah