Please welcome my dear friend Dulce Chale for this week’s Lenten Reflection. What a marvel this woman is.
Back in my smug adolescence, I had a rather indulgent attitude toward the 23rd Psalm. Sure, it was a favorite of grannies everywhere, but it just seemed so obvious, you know? I wanted to dig out some obscure treasure from one of the minor prophets. Now that I am closer to grannyhood myself (though hopefully not very close yet), I have begun to appreciate the treasures that were right under my nose. For the last couple of months I have found myself singing and meditating on those six verses, and it seems contagious. My daughter has been singing her little sister to sleep with the Spanish version of Psalm 23. Though I don’t pretend to have any startling new insights, this Psalm causes me to breathe in peace every time.
The Lord is my shepherd. Nada me faltará. In Spanish it says that I will not lack anything. Most of the time, I see plenty lacking in me: lack of patience, lack of wisdom…there are so many ways that I fall short. I am clinging to the mystery of Christ in me, His strength complete in my weakness.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul. So many days I find myself fighting the turbulent rapids of normal life. That picture of still waters and green grass is becoming my mental getaway. And that making me lie down thing is pretty cool , because left to my own devices, I am likely to caught in my own momentum and sucked into the whirlpool instead of resting on the grassy shore.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. I have His name now because He adopted me as His daughter. He is leading me by the hand through these paths because we are family and He is my Papi.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me. Death has been defeated. Even though the shadow darkens everything it touches, it is just a shadow. The morning of resurrection will drive it away. He is with me always to hold me when I think I see monsters.
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. His rod isn’t an instrument of punishment. For shepherds, they were used to defend the sheep from predators. As King, the shebet is a royal scepter held out to give us life, the symbol of His authority and protection over us.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. Because some battles last too long to wait for a victory. Our souls need to feast now, even in the middle of the battlefield.
|Image credit Surat Lozowick on Flickr|
You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows. OK, so it is neither an accurate comparison or spiritual, but as a curly girl with a bad case of the frizzies, my first thought is a hot oil hair treatment or a massage. Saturating the dry spots with fragrant oil, smoothing away roughness. And the overflowing cup? A jumbo mug of coffee with raw cream. Or wine, if that seems more Biblical and all. (And yeah, I tried giving coffee up for Lent once. My family agreed that it was decidedly better for my spiritual walk not to deprive myself of coffee or chocolate in the future).
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life. More than a smug satisfaction at receiving goodness and mercy, this is about it following us, like a trail of perfume lingering in our wake wherever we go. Or that rainbow-farting unicorn. (I have a 7 year old and a 4 year old–we do lots of fart jokes around here). Any place that we have been, the people around us should receive goodness and mercy.
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. This is my home. This is where I am fully known and fully belong. Forever. He is my place to lay my head. And with that kind of acceptance and intimacy, I can believe that I really don’t lack anything.
Dulce reads constantly, loves to travel, blogs at Dulce de leche and drinks copious amounts of iced coffee. She is livin’ a vida loca and learning to walk in God’s amazing grace.