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Not as the world gives

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me.
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

In my mind I see soldiers marching away from battle. Some sing songs of victory; others are in the agony of defeat. But the battle is over, and all are at peace.

And this kind of peace comes, too, at the end of the day. Some battles won, some lost. Things accomplished, things yet to do, things given up. Relationships more whole ... or less. There is no time, finally, for anything else. Sleep curls up around my mind, and I am at peace.

One of my older friends sometimes implores God to take her home. She has had enough struggle, enough pain, enough frustration. She's had enough of this life and yearns for her eternal one. She is acutely aware of her powerlessness.

In his most recent News-Gazette column, Don Follis christened the next four Fridays "Peaceful Fridays." He suggested that we pray with St. Francis of Assisi, "Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace." To do this we must first sit quietly, wait patiently and let the peace of the Lord descend on us and into us.

This peace God speaks of often comes for me in the midst of giving up and grief, when I can do no more, when powerlessness is the most salient feature of my emotional landscape. It is then that his rod and staff comfort me most. In the presence of these enemies he leads me to the still waters. More than ever, far more than I can fill it for myself, my cup overflows.

Let your goodness and love, Lord, follow me all the days of my life.

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