Readers tend to focus on what Psalm 23’s Shepherd does for us—with good reason! The Shepherd provides for our needs; guides us into places of peace, safety, and prosperity; and leads us through darkness to abundant life.

Yet, this psalm exhorts us to certain activities. Trusting in the Shepherd’s guidance, we may be surprised to realize that the Shepherd sometimes leads us into the dark valley, the valley of the shadow of death. Yet is it so surprising? Jesus Christ precisely and obediently faces the world’s darkness and death. He becomes obedient to death—even death on a cross—so that resurrection is possible. Indeed, resurrection by definition follows some form of death. Christ invites us to participate in his death and resurrection symbolized in our baptism. You may ask yourself, What in my life needs to die so that resurrection can take hold? What blocks me from following Christ and receiving the abundant life Christ promises? Will I surrender these to the Shepherd in the conviction of resurrection not yet seen but assuredly promised?

In times of asking what needs to die in our lives so that resurrection can prevail, we often experience God through the corrective staff and protective rod. In such experiences of discipline and correction, we frequently fail to see their roots of God’s love and protection. Putting to death the idols of our lives is a painful process that requires practices of godly and loving discipline. This psalm calls us not to fear and to recognize God’s discipline as a comfort that demonstrates God’s resurrecting presence in our lives. Only then can we proclaim and claim a future reality not yet seen—that goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our life and that we shall dwell in the house of the Lord.

Lord, I surrender the idols of my life to you. Help me to live into your promise of resurrection. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read John 10:22-30

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Lectionary Week
May 6–12, 2019
Scripture Overview

The imagery of sheep plays a prominent role in three of this week’s readings. Psalm 23 uses the relationship between the shepherd and the sheep as its guiding metaphor. The Lord is our shepherd and leads us to safe and fertile places. Even when we pass through a dark valley, the Lord is there protecting us with a shepherd’s weapon, a staff. In the Gospel reading, Jesus describes himself as a shepherd who calls his sheep. Because they are his, they hear his voice. In Revelation, Jesus becomes the sheep—or more specifically, the Lamb that was slain on our behalf. Those who endure will praise the Lamb forever. Acts is different in that it focuses on a resurrection story, a manifestation of God’s power working through Peter.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Acts 9:36-43. How can you be a witness and a vessel for God’s activity?
Read Psalm 23. Reflect on the questions the author poses in Tuesday’s meditation. Allow God’s guidance and correction to be comforting.
Read Revelation 7:9-17. How does knowing Christ as both Lamb and Shepherd help you work to bring about things not yet seen?
Read John 10:22-30. How does your faith allow you to hold gently your convictions without needing to grasp tightly to certainties?

Respond by posting a prayer.

This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”

Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.