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.
I recently encountered an article on Artificial Intelligence (AI) entitled “Shepherding Electric Sheep,” which included an introductory summary of six articles. Distinctively, the introduction was written by ChatGPT, a machine driven by AI technology that can compose texts. Our world differs greatly from that of the psalmist who wrote Psalm 23. Its sheep were actual animals rather than electric machines, and they benefited from a shepherd who provided guidance and comfort rather than from one providing reflective criticism of chatbots and their use. However, the words of the classic psalm still speak to our world. No matter what strange and new developments we might encounter in our contemporary cosmos, the shepherding Lord is with us, fulfilling our needs, including bringing us goodness and mercy. The world we inhabit will always be the house of God. This God who loves the world also arouses thoughtful assessments of shepherding electric sheep.
We thank you, O God, for dwelling with us as the Good Shepherd, making possible our freedom and empowering us to use our decision-making capacity for loving the world as you do. Amen.