Wednesday of Easter IV – Psalm 23

1 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 paths of righteousness
    for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will 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
    forever.

I regularly would come to her house. She did not get out much anymore. She was in her 90’s by this point. I brought her communion and shared what I was preaching on this next Sunday, but I think I also brought her a few minutes of someone to talk to, fellowship. Her little house was well kept. Her family helped her with that. She was loved and in reasonable health. But she was pretty much stuck at home by a body which was not able to do what she wanted to do.

We talked. We talked about a lot of things. She listened to the news and did a little reading. Her eyes bothered her if she read too much. We often spoke of the past. She knew that her life stretched out behind her far more than it did before her. She was not unhappy about that. I always left her house with the sense that this had been time well spent. 

On her living room wall was a picture of Jesus with a lamb over his shoulder and sheep around his knees. He was smiling. The words of this psalm were there too. She read it every day, she told me.

I am honored to have been a little part of Jesus shepherding this woman and many others whom I have had the privilege of visiting and seeing. In the pandemic I started writing these devotions because I could no longer make those visits, but these are a poor substitute for a visit. I like to sit down and just talk, face to face, perhaps we would have a cup of coffee together. I tell them about my garden, and they could tell me what their grandkids are up to. We would pray together. Read some Scripture, a favorite passage of theirs or perhaps something we were reading this Sunday. We would commune. I would lay my hand on theirs, or perhaps their forehead, and I would bless them.

I am not Jesus’ only shepherd. He bears this responsibility finally. I am but the one he has sent in this time and place. He has resources and means which far exceed my own. I pray for the folks who cannot get out at all and whose lives have grown very small. Join me in praying for them. Give them a call if you know someone like that. Check in on them. Be a bit of Christ’s shepherding work today.

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