One part of this psalm that has always made me pause is the part about preparing “a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” I picture the shepherd as a restaurant server, leading me to a table with fancy tablecloths and candles and bringing baskets of fresh bread...
Lord, help me know that I need not be afraid and that you will provide for me. And help me to use that courage and provision to extend your table even to my enemies. Amen.
The two readings from the Hebrew scriptures focus on the life of David. In First Samuel, the prophet is sent to anoint the next king of Israel. God chooses David not because of outward appearance but because of his heart. David is not perfect, nor is his life always easy. Psalm 23 declares David’s trust in God in good times and bad times. Just as Samuel has anointed David with oil, so does the Lord anoint him. The New Testament readings both employ images of light and darkness. Ephesians instructs us to live as children of light, not darkness. In John, Jesus heals a blind man and brings him from darkness into light. Some religious leaders protest because although their physical eyes can see, their spiritual vision is darkened.
Read 1 Samuel 16:1-13. How often do you judge others by outward appearances or worldly successes? How can you “look upon the heart” to judge leaders in your community?Read Psalm 23. When have you experienced Jesus’ presence with you in the wilderness?Read Ephesians 5:8-14. How does God’s light help you persist through struggles within yourself or in the world around you?Read John 9:1-41. What questions does Jesus ask you? How do your questions of Jesus help you understand him?
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The RESILIENCE conference in 2021 was so uplifting and nourishing. It was wonderful to be with other Christians around the world at this retreat, who truly care about responding to trauma in a compassionate way by teaching spiritual practices to help with grounding and healing.”
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