Lectionary Scriptures and Comments

He Restores My Soul 100811

An image of Psalm 23 (King James' Version), fr...

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Psalm 23

Isaiah 24:17-23

Mark 2:18-22

 

He Restores My Soul 100811

 

Psalm 23 is so familiar to many people. For many it is used as a song at the funeral or graveside of a loved one who has departed this life.

 

But the Psalm is joyous for other times as well. Times like today. For many people around the world these times on earth might seem like walking through the valley of the ‘shadow of death’. It is hard times for so many in America, in Europe and around the world, many more than the percentages reported as unemployed. Many are underemployed, sick, hurt, or their business is at a low point. This may cause us to put the blame on those who are not suffering, and indeed, in some cases it may be the greed of the wealthy that is causing the poverty of others.

 

But sometimes suffering and deprivation can cause us to seek to put on ‘new wineskins, as Jesus teaches in Mark 2. Maybe the present suffering, while not caused by God, enable us to seek new wineskins for new wine. Maybe God is using this present difficulty and walk in the shadows to prepare us for ‘new wine’, new opportunities and challenges for the future.

 

May we pray together that the suffering we may experience or share teaches us all how to love more, rather than encourages us to hate some suspicious group or class.

 

Pray for peace,

(brother) Bill

 

 

Psalm 23

1The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

2He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters;

3he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.

4Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me.

5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

6Surely 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.

Isaiah 24:17-23

17Terror, and the pit, and the snare are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth! 18Whoever flees at the sound of the terror shall fall into the pit; and whoever climbs out of the pit shall be caught in the snare. For the windows of heaven are opened, and the foundations of the earth tremble. 19The earth is utterly broken, the earth is torn asunder, the earth is violently shaken. 20The earth staggers like a drunkard, it sways like a hut; its transgression lies heavy upon it, and it falls, and will not rise again. 21On that day the Lord will punish the host of heaven in heaven, and on earth the kings of the earth. 22They will be gathered together like prisoners in a pit; they will be shut up in a prison, and after many days they will be punished. 23Then the moon will be abashed, and the sun ashamed; for the Lord of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before his elders he will manifest his glory.

Mark 2:18-22

18Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting; and people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 19Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot fast while the bridegroom is with them, can they? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day.

21“No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak; otherwise, the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. 22And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.”

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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