The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely 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.
This hymn is my all-time favorite. Since I was one preaching this past Sunday, I got to pick the hymns, so this one should be familiar as we just sang it on the 29th. By happenstance or by work of the Holy Spirit, this hymn has appeared at a number of important worship services in my life. It was sung at my wedding, at my ordination, at Loli’s ordination service, at the baptism for both of my daughters, and at several other meaningful moments. It is one that has kept “popping” up in my life. It is basically a paraphrase of the 23rd Psalm and I find both the lyrical and musical arrangement beautiful. I am particularly fond of the final verse: “O may your house by my abode, and all my work be praise. There would I find a settled rest, while others go and come; no more a stranger, or a guest, but like a child at home.” Such beautiful imagery is used to envision this idea of dwelling in the house of the Lord with a level of comfort like a child at home. May we all seek to dwell in the house of the Lord and not be a stranger nor guest to the goodness and mercy of God.
Merciful God, Your love is steadfast and You never cease in Your care for us. Strengthen us to recognize Your provision and love that are the source of all that is good in our lives. When we are afraid and struggle, may we turn to Your constant presence for comfort and peace. Thank You. Amen.