For the summer sermon series at our church, Decatur Presbyterian Church, our congregation was presented with an intriguing choice: a deep dive into Psalm 23.
I admit I was surprised, since I tend to associate Psalm 23 (as many others do) as the standard Scriptural text for funerals and graveside commitments. In fact, I’m not sure if I ever heard it recited at any other time.
I’m reading the King James (KJV), the New Revised Standard (NRSV) and the Voice versions for comparison. I’m curious to see how the different language choices resonate with me, spiritually, emotionally and artistically. As someone with a background in studying and writing poetry, it has also piqued my interest in reading more of the Psalms, which I’ve not done in many years.
During worship services yesterday, Dr. Speed beautifully recited the King James version while offering Communion. My heart welled with emotion, reminded of beloved people who have since passed from this life. I recalled receiving spiritual comfort during my own times of loss, being shepherded through grief by the loving grace of God. I thought of how many times in my life, my soul was restored – even before I was attuned to God’s presence in my life.
Dr. Hughes and Dr. Speed encourage us, in our close reading and reflection, to see how Psalm 23 is meaningful in our everyday lives and for those elsewhere who have struggled and prevailed socially and politically.
Feeling God’s presence
This week, we are asked to make a list of the times we feel God’s presence each day. My husband and I started writing these down at the end of the day in a shared journal. I thought I would also blog weekly about the activities we are asked to do, and how we’ve responded.
Here are some that we’ve written so far:
Sitting outside at dusk, listening to the birds, especially the mockingbird in our yard.
Random times walking outside, I feel a kind of charged silence descend over me.
Laying in the swing near the church.
While watching storm clouds form over the swimming pool.
Sharing communion bread with our daughter.
Earlier, I had a series of thoughts about how I define God.
Some of these are connected directly with our worship life. Others reflect the moments during the day where there’s a shift in consciousness, and we become aware of something more expansive and inclusive.
When do you feel God’s presence in your life – during your daily activities and in the quiet spaces, where energy begins to gather?
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