The reading for today is Psalm 23
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul. He guides 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 love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
I have always thought of this psalm as it pertains to funerals and words of comfort. Recently in our world we have experienced many types of loss due to the pandemic. It may be the loss of a loved one, or a loss of a job, your business, your relationships, or simply how life was “before the Covid.” And with that we experience grief in similar ways.
Elizabeth Kubler Ross defined the five stages of grief and loss in her book, Death & Dying, published in 1969. They are denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. People may experience these stages in different order, even back and forth between stages as they journey through loss and grief. Studying them in nursing school (several years ago when they were most popular), helped me to understand human behavior. But I was too young and inexperienced to understand the spiritual side that relates to this psalm.
As David writes this psalm, his experience is that of a shepherd caring for his flock of sheep. Sheep were obedient creatures, passive, not frightened, but obedient and wise to follow their leader. Re-read this psalm as if you were a sheep. Think of Jesus as your shepherd. It comforts me. It reminds me to continue to pray as God is the one who is in control. This virus has proved that one very thing to me. Scientific and all, I cannot control this outcome! So, I lean on the Lord and look to Him for all my concerns. Will you join me in prayer? Although we may hear of all the precautions, possible cures, and a vaccine in our future, I only know one who can help us through this…The God of life!
Heavenly Father help us to feel Your peace in the face of our sorrow. Bring us together through this valley as we navigate a new normal on this earth. Lift all who have suffered through the losses stemming from Covid. And anoint us with Your everlasting love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Ann Byrum Groomes firstname.lastname@example.org
Prayer Concern: Pray for all the lost sheep trying to navigate on their own…