Thought for the day – 24 May

Thought for the day - 24 May
Dear All
Today’s passage is probably one of the most familiar in the entire bible. It is sung along with another well-known hymn, ‘Abide With Me’, so often at funerals that it has become known to the clergy as the ‘Co-op Double’. The hymns are so familiar and, the tune ‘Crimond’ in particular, have become synonymous with sadness, sentiment and death. The tune ‘Crimond’ hasn’t helped in my opinion and is probably responsible. It’s a dirge.
Anyone having attended a crematorium will have noticed that there are dirty big thumbprints in the hymn book CH3 at numbers 387 and 695. You don’t have to look them up as the pages voluntarily open of their own accord. The hymn books, if they could speak would say: ‘oh! no! not again’.
What has happened to this wonderful Psalm? Well! the monotonous popularity of the tunes certainly hasn’t helped along with the fact that many non-church going folk seem to choose it because they’ve heard it and think that’s what you should pick. There are times though when they do have to compete with Tina Turner and Elvis, Ah ha hmm
How many of you ‘Hoover’ the carpets? I bet just about all of you will say ‘Hoover’ rather than ‘vacuum’. The Trademark ‘Hoover’ has now become the generic name for vacuuming which was never the company’s intention. It has, I would think, worked against them as a Hoover is now pretty much indistinguishable from any other brand name. (Won’t be Dysoning any time soon.)
Rolls Royce too has become a byword for quality but as far as the car itself is concerned it won’t get confused with a Fiat Punto, of that I’m sure. Overuse of just about anything brings with it unintended consequences.
Let’s have a look at Psalm 23. David was a shepherd and his writing reflects his daily experiences. He had no sheepdogs and unlike today’s shepherds had no off-road vehicles, you know that of course. He would walk in front of his sheep and actually lead them. He would know their names eg (Come by Bessie!) or the Hebrew equivalent.
Mountain lions, wolves, jackals and bears were always on the prowl and he might need to, and probably did, tackle them to protect his precious flock. Water and pasture were scarce so he would need to know where to find it and he did.
I checked out the number of times the Psalm uses ‘I’, ‘Me’, and ‘My’ and I counted 17 times, correct me if I’m wrong, and I take from it that David is recalling his days as a shepherd and sees it as a kind of parallel, in his own life. The Lord is his Lord and he cares for his well-being in every way. As David took great care of his flock, leading them, protecting and feeding them so the Lord will take care of him.
There is a genuine tenderness and intimacy in this short, reflective, and meditative Psalm which, if you read and think of again today you will discover or perhaps rediscover for yourself.
Today I ask you to think/meditate on these things.
God bless you!

Jim

JBoag@churchofscotland.org.uk

 

PSALM 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk

through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
or 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 your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

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