Thou Art With Me

Todays lectionary comes to us from Psalm 23.  I thought I would share the whole psalm, considering it's one that is dear to so many of us: 

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
2     He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
3     he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
    for his name’s sake.

4 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.

5 You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
6 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.

I'm struggling this morning to find the silver lining in any of the clouds that have descended upon us.  

It doesn't help that there's nothing but rain and clouds in the weather forecast for the next five days.  If only the sun would come out. If only the news would change.  

I keep checking for glimpses of sun, breaking through the grey.  I keep checking for any positive news at all, but there doesn't seem to be any this morning.  

But when I opened the daily lectionary today... there was Psalm 23.  On this day of all days, no less.  

I can say Psalm 23 by heart, but the version I memorized was the old King James Version from my Baptist days.  

"... He maketh me to lie down in green pastures..." 
"...thou art with me..." 
"...thou preparest a table before me..." 
"...thou anointest my head with oil..."  

The little kid who memorized that Psalm a hundred years ago could not have imagined the world he would one day live in--where a global pandemic ground the world to a halt.  

In fact, the only reason he memorized that Psalm was because he went to a Christian school and his third grade teacher had the whole class memorize it together. 

Those words, though... those words are still in there.  And when I saw them as part of the reading today, I almost wept.  Because I'm scared and I'm angry, and I want all this to end... this valley of shadow, this veil of darkness.  

What I've got right now is the hope that comes from places like this Psalm.  Places from my memory, from my past---where I can look back and see God beside me in the darkness.  

"Thou are with me," I find myself saying in my head.  

"Thou art with me."  

"Thou art with me."  

Know that the great Thou, the Creator and Sustainer, the Power and Connection between us even during times when the connection is strained... The great Thou is with us through the valley, through the shadow...  

Thou art with us...  

May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  


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