Preacher: “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.”
In a materialistic society that concept would not be accepted. Many would say that religion alone will not give you all that you need. And the argument can be made that just having faith will not fulfill even the most basic needs. But the Jewish faith before, and the Christian faith now do not portend to give the essentials of life. What faith gives us in the courage and confidence to make our way in the world and acquire the needs to keep body AND soul together. Jesus was a carpenter, and laying down his woodworking tools he taught those around him how life can be sweet, and why we can and should have faith.
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: When the Lord God leads the way, the wise and the righteous follow. Just as when the Divine lead the Hebrews out of Egypt, we are are placed and situated where we can achieve our goals and meet our needs. Just as faith is within our reach but we must reach out and take it, so are the things for our physical needs place in this world. Do not think though, that evil and misfortune can place these things out of the reach of some. It is Christian compassion and the knowledge that the Lord God intends for all to be satisfied that we help others achieve their goal and needs.
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: The Holy Spirit came into the world to comfort all people. Not that the presence of the Divine was not present in the world before Christ came; it is just that humanity did not have the spiritual eyes and understanding to see it and appreciate it. The prophets tried, as the Divine gave them strength and calling to teach; but it took the Messiah to implant the enduring understanding – or at least to offer it to those willing!
Preacher: You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Seeker: Yes, the Divine does prepare before all of the world a place for believers to eat in communion with the Lord. If there are those who deny and turn away from the Feast of the Lord God, then that is there choice and some day will be to their misfortune. But the Divine destines the Feast of the Lord God for all of humanity.
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: Where is the “house of the Lord” you may well ask. If I said it was here on earth, you would point out all the things that are wrong in the world and that it could not be the “Lord’s House”. The psalmist, who wrote this, believed that the house of the Lord was the house of worship. The plan was that all things would be perfect in the house of worship. By Jesus’ time they were not. And we see too, in our world, that houses of worship are not perfect. Indeed, in our most current day and time no one is in houses of worship! But that just shows houses of worship are not physical tangible places, but placing ourselves in the Presence of the Divine. And as authentic committed Christians we should be, and prayerfully will be! Selah & Shalom!