Speak Lord: Shepherd Lord

 

Venice July 2004 122.jpg

The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.

The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures
where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me,
to revive my drooping spirit.

The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.

He guides me along the right path;
he is true to his name.
If I should walk in the valley of darkness
no evil would I fear.
You are there with your crook and your staff;
with these you give me comfort.

The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.

You have prepared a banquet for me
in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil;
my cup is overflowing.

The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.

Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me
all the days of my life.
In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell
for ever and ever.

The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.

Psalm 22:1-6

The Responsorial Psalm sung at Mass tomorrow, the 4th Sunday of Lent, is perhaps the best known psalm in the English-speaking world, at any rate, and the one most commonly requested at funerals and weddings. It is a psalm that speaks of confidence and trust in the Lord in good times and bad, hard, sad times.

We sing it tomorrow after hearing of the shepherd by chosen to be Israel’s king. Kingship is a troubled concept in the Old Testament. For Israel has its king – the Lord – but it hankers after kings such as the other nations have… and though God allows them their kings they often enough turn out to bring disaster on the people.

The Bible denotes Psalm 22 as a Psalm of David. Whether this means he worte it, no-one knows. But the account of David – despite its ups and downs and tragedies – does reveal him to be a person who knew God to be his Lord, his king, and who placed his trust in him. The psalm expressed just such a faith.

And  today, still, not least by this psalm, David’s faith continues to inform ours.

Mosiac of the Good Shepherd, The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, 425 C.E., Ravenna, Italy. (c) 2004, Allen Morris

 

Advertisements

One thought on “Speak Lord: Shepherd Lord

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s