Ready for a word order meditation?

The words are familiar: “The Lord is my shepherd ….” I have recited this Psalm many times with the dying, with the bereaved, with those struggling to find the strength to move on, or the strength to face a fear-filled future.

I have been with agitated men and women of a certain age, robbed of mental acuity by illness or injury, and watched calm wash over them and through them, watched peace come to them as I recited the words of Psalm 23.

But, change the word order and you will have the heart of our conversation in the Sunday Morning Forum as it gathers at 9:00 am on Sunday, April 29, 2012.

The Lord is my shepherd … . Ah, peace, strength, and …

IS the Lord my shepherd …? Ah. Wait. What? How dare you suggest …

In the readings appointed for Sunday we hear:

The Lord is my Shepherd … (Psalm 23:1)

We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us … (1 John 3:16)

Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd.The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep….” (John 10:11)

Look through the ups and downs of your life.

  • In what ways have these words of scripture been true for you?
  • When have these words been part of your prayers?
  • Are you ready to risk sharing a bit of your history with the group.
  • IS the Lord your shepherd?
  • What has this come to mean for you?
  • Have you always been secure in this knowledge?
  • Have you ever been secure in this knowledge?

Telling our stories of encounter with the Risen Lord, the Good Shepherd, is a fulfillment of our Baptismal Covenant to “proclaim by word … the Good News of God in Christ.”

I invite you to leave a comment, even a story, here. Let your words open the mystery and meaning of speaking this way about God and our relationship with God.

Your attention please . . .

This past Sunday (8/28/11) we talked about encounters with God (Moses and the burning bush being our inspiration). In the conversation we noted our belief that God reaches out to us constantly—sometimes we’re paying attention, sometimes not. We noted that as we adjust our sight and hearing in prayer and worship and service, we become more and more aware, and more ready, to encounter God in the “ordinary” events of our lives. In the course of the conversation David shared a poem to highlight our understanding:

“Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.”

—Elizabeth Barrett Browning

We talked about coincidences, too.  As if to highlight what we considered “God’s timeliness” (versus coincidence) this arrived in my email this morning:

Holiness comes wrapped in the ordinary. There are burning bushes all around you. Every tree is full of angels. Hidden beauty is waiting in every crumb.

—Macrina Wiederkehr, O.S.B in A Tree Full of Angels

Pay attention, today (always), encounters with God are bound to be numerous.