The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely, your goodness and mercy will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23
Nine years ago, I had the awesome opportunity to see Oberammergau Passion Play. It is a passion play performed since 1634 as a tradition by the inhabitants of the village of Oberammergau, Bavaria, Germany. I stayed with our dear friends in Tuscany and then travelled over the Alps to Germany. The day we arrived it was cloudy with slight drizzles, but as far as one could see, were rolling green luscious hills with hundreds of sheep scattered. My mind went to the 23rd Psalm and I found myself mediating on these words “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” One of my favorite translations is found in The Message: it reads like this, “Your beauty and love chases after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of Yahweh for the rest of my life.”
What is incredible about this passage of scripture is that it is a Life guide. Did you notice the first word? Surely. The shepherd David did not say, “maybe” or “possibly” or even “there’s a good chance”. David penned the word, “Surely”. It does not mean that we deserve His “goodness and mercy”; just that God promises it to us despite our doubt, rebellion or even plain stubbornness. If those words still don’t grab you, let’s look at the remaining portion of this verse, “pursue me all the days of my life and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” God says his love will chase after me all not some, not most, not nearly all but all the days of my life. Talk about a love passage this is one of the great ones.
Before I close this letter allow me to share another verse found in John 1:2; “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” In this profound verse John is correlating that Jesus is the Lamb of God who will make the ultimate sacrifice of his life for us. According to scripture Jesus was crucified three short years later.
I love the way scripture uses imagery to help us understand God’s word the 23rd Psalm shares how the Good Shepherd loves, provides, protects and guides us. The passage shows that John shares how Jesus (the Lamb) will make the greatest sacrificial gift for us on the cross. As we enter this Easter season, take a moment to reflect on the immense love that Jesus Christ has for you.
This Easter, will you consider giving a sacrificial gift by April 22nd? It helps us continue to be visible signs of God’s love in our schools and community. Blessings to you and your loved ones this holy season.
Because of Him,
Betty Alvarez Ham,
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