Preacher: “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

Seeker: I shall not have needs, true spiritual needs, that go unfulfilled. I shall find my way through life, and I shall find sweetness in this life, and reward in the life to come.

Preacher: “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.”

Seeker: Believers in the Divine – hundreds, thousands, millions – have repeated these word to comfort themselves and others. Sometimes there is doubt and fear; sometimes the confidence to believe in these words as a sustaining lifeline is not strong or present. Fortitude and stamina go down, and nervousness, turmoil, and distress overwhelm.

Preacher: “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.”

Seeker: No body of Christ to touch; no strong physical shoulder to lean; no hand reaching out to pull us from the depth and darkness. We look for help, and see empty air. And we panic. I have been there, you have been there – we all have been there. But, the fact that another has been there and survived brings a spark of hope. And that hope is fanned by the stories that other tell. They reach out to us, because someone reached out to them. That person was helped. Someone SOMEWHERE found the strength, and with that knowledge, we can learn where to look. Not outside of ourselves, but inside. Deep inside – deeper than the dark is. The Spark of the Divine – because we have been promised that it is there. And the Divine does not lie.

Preacher: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”

Seeker: Who are your enemies? Who are my enemies? Sometimes it feels like I am my own enemy. And yet, and yet – a table is prepared before me. Even if I am my enemy. Because the Lord God does not have enemies – only people who have not yet come to belief, faith, and hope. The table of the Lord is prepared in the presence of humanity, and all are welcomed. And suddenly, there are no enemies; only friends we have not gotten to know yet. And we are all anointed and our cups are overflowing!

Preacher: “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.” (Psalm 23)

Seeker: Surely. Jesus came and taught the disciples and made apostles. The apostles traveled and preached. And made more disciples. And made missionaries. And the Word of the Lord God spread. And came to us – to you, Preacher, and then to me. Surely, Preacher, we shall dwell in the House of the Lord – first in spirit, and then in renewed flesh. Surely it will happen – as sure as Jesus the Christ has risen! Shalom & Selah!