Monday, March 19, 2012

A Page from Vitaljournal - Psalm 23

Let me be honest with you.  I've missed several days now of my Bible reading, the daily workout I committed to do for the season of Lent.  This is a clear integrity gap - not doing what I said I would do, when I said I would do it, in the manner in which it was intended.  I want to acknowledge this and say that it has had an impact on me.  Most of the impact has come in the form of feeling less connected to God and to others.  In Faithwalking, I've learned to be honest about my habitual disobedience and do that without self-condemnation and judgment.  But it doesn't end with that;  I am recommitting to this daily workout.  Thanks for the grace and room.

And so as I re-engaged my daily spiritual workout, YouVersion's reading plan through Matthew's Gospel called Lent for Everyone with a commentary by N.T Wright, I wasn't expecting that today's reading would be from Psalm 23.  I was expecting a passage from Matthew.  When I saw it, I was thinking "boring!" and I know this Scripture already and can quote it by heart. Anyone else?  I had just shared this with a family at the memorial service of their loved one.  But in reading NT Wright's comments in the additional material, I found something I'd never heard before: 
"And now, many generations of Christians have prayed the Psalm in the same way, in the light of the many passages where Jesus picks up the shepherd-promise and applies it to himself. In fact, the gospel story is not unlike the picture of the shepherd and the sheep: Jesus leading his disciples around Galilee, teaching them, healing people as he goes. And as the story moves us forwards towards the valley of the shadow of death, we look on in awe and wonder as the Good Shepherd goes ahead of us into the darkness. His rod and his staff, two poles of wood, come together in a new pattern, a shape which will etch itself on the heart of the world. We look at the cross and we are comforted."

That insight gives me a different line of sight to the cross - one I've needed and am delighted to add.  Just goes to show...