PSALM 23 - A PARAPHRASE
When Reverend Don Dowling came to St. Ippolyts a while ago he introduced us to his paraphrase of the 23rdPsalm as follows:
‘The shepherd was a familiar figure in Bible lands and times. However, it is somewhat different for us. Most of us live in towns where we rarely see a sheep. And even in the country the practice of sheep rearing has markedly changed. Nowadays in Britain a shepherd is typically someone who herds sheep from a quad bike with dogs! Climate and topography are quite different too. Consequently I have tried to paraphrase the psalm in a way that is less dependent on images of sheep and shepherding. Whether it works you can judge for yourself.’
The Lord, I am safe with you;
You do not let me down.
You watch over me when I sleep.
You refresh me when I’m awake.
You are my provider.
When I am weary you sustain me,
When lost you put me back on track.
Constant in your loving care
You are my guardian and my guide.
At times the darkness would overwhelm me
Were it not for your presence, Lord.
You walk with me in the night of fear
So I don’t fall or stumble.
You are my protector.
When I’m threatened by danger on all sides
There you fill my cup of blessing to the brim;
Making me the guest of honour at your feast.
You are my gracious host.
All my life I will know your goodness
All my life I will experience your mercy,
For I will live as your child in your family.
You are my home and my Father.
HALLELUIAH ! CHRIST IS RISEN !!
By the time you read this, Easter will have come and gone and for those of you with young (and not so young!) children in the house, the only reminder will be the recycling bin overflowing with discarded Easter egg boxes!! This is the first year I haven’t bought my own children any eggs....I thought that at the ages of 22, 24 and 26 respectively, they had pushed the boundaries of childhood far enough!! It wasn’t a popular decision!!
It occurred to me as I was mulling over the last few weeks that we humans often think of things in terms of ‘deadlines’. We say, ‘let’s get Christmas out of the way and we’ll think about our holidays’ or ‘after the children go back to school, we can.....’ or ‘when the nice weather arrives....’ and so on. One of my clergy colleagues said that the church even has a new liturgical season.....it’s called ‘I’ll do that after Easter’ and it usually starts just after Christmas!! And here I am, starting my letter for PAX with a sentence that puts Easter firmly in the past!
But the thing is, that as Christians, Easter is always in the present. We are called to be ‘Easter people’, people with hope, every day of the year. Because of Jesus Christ that hope is with us always. There is no emotion we can feel, no height nor depth we can reach, no mountain we can climb or wilderness we can feel lost in, where Jesus hasn’t already been......and still he is with us, walking with us and offering to share the load. But how often do we fail to recognise that and what would our lives look like if we lived each day filled with the joy that hope brings us?
Now, don’t go looking to me for answers, I’m just the Vicar, but it is worth contemplating how we present ourselves to the world as Christians! (Note to self: remember to try to look more hopeful!).
And talking of hope....it’s looking like the weather is warming up in time for my annual holiday shenanigans with my mum!! We’re off to Norfolk again at the end of May, along with my friend Tracy and her mum Wendy so I should have some tales to tell you when I get back!! As you may recall, this holiday usually involves Tracy and I laughing a lot - at the expense of our mothers - but before you feel too sorry for them, remember that they do still insist on coming with us and I’ve got a funny feeling that they are planning a little revenge this year!! I’ll let you know what happens!
With love - Ginni