“My Shepherd, You Supply My Need” (ELW 782)
1 My Shepherd, you supply my need;
most holy is your name.
In pastures fresh you make me feed,
beside the living stream.
You bring my wand’ring spirit back
when I forsake your ways,
and lead me, for your mercy’s sake,
in paths of truth and grace.
2 When I walk through the shades of death,
your presence is my stay;
one word of your supporting breath
drives all my fears away.
Your hand, in sight of all my foes,
does still my table spread;
my cup with blessings overflows,
your oil anoints my head.
3 The sure provisions of my God
attend me all my days;
oh, may your house be my abode
and all my work be praise.
Here would I find a settled rest,
while others go and come;
no more a stranger or a guest,
but like a child at home.
Desire and fear are just part of human life. It is good that we have them, and yet sometimes they point to consequences of our own making. What mess have you or I created that did not stem from how we responded to our own wants or fears? “Sin” in the Greek part of the Bible is a translation of the word “hamartia.” It simply means “to miss the mark,” as in missing the bullseye or a target. From the smallest to the largest ever done, such misdeeds are often mistaken notions of desire or fear. We miss the mark. We miss-take who we really are: created by in God in love, to love, and for love. We miss the mark when we mistake our wants and fears as more important than God’s power at work in us to show love.
Psalm 23 and its recollection in the words of this hymn remind us that there is One who is constantly at work in us to lead us to a deeper fulfilment of our desire that reaches beyond our fears.
Shepherd me oh God, beyond my wants, beyond my fears, from death into life. You make me lie down in green pastures. You lead me beside still waters. You restore my soul. You are with me. Your rod and staff comfort me. Amen.