* Lent 2014 – Psalm 23: What is the Normal Christian Life?

Through this Lenten series we slow ourselves down in a prayerful and meditative way – Six weeks for six verses from a simply written Psalm 23 – a statement of the author’s faith and at the same time a disciplined meditation over his experiences with God to remind himself how to endure all the apparent contradictions of blessing – in a world where things are not what they are supposed to be.

So David the King of ancient Israel writes to people of faith that into a world marred by evil comes a shepherd who can lead us and guide us into an experience of heaven here, but ultimately to his own eternal home.

He tells of a good shepherd who came to him in surprising ways, ways we wouldn’t expect.  Three thousand years later, you and I can discover these same experiences in common with all the other believers in the God of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures throughout the ages.

That the Almighty creator of heaven and earth makes me his personal concern.
That he provides abundantly for my deepest needs, real food & real drink.
That he gives me new life and guides me into paths that let me flourish in this new way.
That in this newness of life I can face the ugliest realities of mortal life fearlessly.
That he celebrates my victories over all the enemies of my life, internal and external, and…
That I will find my place with him that is beyond death and decay – resurrected to his eternal home.

A Hymn rendition of the Text

This simply written Psalm asserts all of these things as an act of the writer’s faith and of his experience – and we will explore each assertion from each verse.

Verse 1a:  Chris Gilbert   “How does Faith Begin?”  March 9, 2014

Verse 1b: Chris Gilbert   “The First Fruits of Faith.”  March 16, 2014

Verse 2: Chris Flick   “Return to Life”  March 23, 2014

Verse 3: Chris Gilbert   “Shepherd for the Hardest Places”  March 30, 2014

Verse 4: Chris Gilbert   “What a Difference Obedience Makes”  April 6, 2014 (problems with recording)

Verse 5: Chris Gilbert  “Love so Amazing”  April 13, 2014

 

Psalm 23 – (King James Version)

1.  The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want,

He makes me down to lie,

In Pastures Green.  He leadeth me,

The quiet waters by.

2. My soul he doth restore again,

And me to walk doth make.

Within the paths of righteousness,

e’en for his own name’s sake.

3. And ‘tho I walk in death’s dark vale,

yet will I fear no ill.

For Thou art with me, and thy rod

and staff me comfort still.

4. A table thou hast furnish-ed

In presence of my foes.

My head Thou dost with oil anoint,

and my cup overflows.

5. Goodness and mercy all my life,

shall surely follow me.

And in God’s house forevermore,

my dwelling place shall be.