Psalm 23 (NRSV)
Verse 1The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
Verse 2He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters;
Verse 3he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name's sake.
Verse 4Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.
Verse 5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Verse 6Surely 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.
Being gathered into the Family of God involves the promises recorded in Psalm 23:1-5: fulfillment of our needs, rest for our bodies, soul care, comfort, and honor. The phrase in verse six that fills me with gratitude and wonder is “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” Because much of our faith depends upon us following our shepherd, this assurance of being followed by goodness sounds a bit miraculous. Have you ever considered that you are followed by God? Since goodness and mercy originate in the Divine, this verse describes a God who follows after us. God follows us because sometimes we are not attracted by the promises and need a little push from behind. What good news that our great and glorious God follows us with goodness and mercy, seeking us out to impart these most important gifts. The dwelling place we so often interpret as beyond this life includes life now.
Dear God of wonder and surprise, keep following us with your grace and mercy, even when we ignore the gifts you desire to give us. Amen.