This beautiful wall hanging is one of our many gorgeous banners that hangs in our three churches. It’s also one of the three that I chose to take home with me when we first made the decision to close our churches. I have always enjoyed the peaceful scene this banner offers as a depiction of the beloved Psalm 23.
According to the church calendar, this is the fourth Sunday of Easter, also commonly referred to as “Good Shepherd Sunday.” The Revised Common Lectionary invites us to read this psalm, along with one of the passages in the Gospel of John where Jesus refers to himself as a shepherd. This Sunday we will be celebrating a late Earth Sunday, but I felt that this would be a good focus for my devotional this week.
Ever since i was young, I’ve loved this Psalm for it’s beauty, and the way in which it speaks of calmness, love and abundant goodness, even in challenging times. And although there are many aspects of this Psalm that can speak to us right now, today I invite you to consider the many images of abundant goodness that the Psalmist offers. From green pastures and still waters, to feasting at Table, the psalmist reminds us that even in times of trouble, abundant goodness can be found. As Rev. Dr. Rachael Keefe writes on the RevGalBlog “While life is not what it was a few months ago and will never return to what it was, God is still leading us, guiding us in goodness and mercy. We are God’s people and God will not leave us alone in the midst of suffering and grief. Moreover, God wants us to have life and have it abundantly. I find myself wondering what abundant life looks like these days. Some would say it is having safe shelter, enough food, and enough tp. I suspect it is more than that. Perhaps it has more to do with trusting God to guide us through this crisis even as we feel the pangs of the church being remade… Perhaps it is in taking pleasure in the sounds of nature that we have missed in the noisier past… Perhaps it is simply offering gratitude for the breath of life… Where are you finding God’s abundance these days?”
Her words remind us that even in the midst of a pandemic, we can and should celebrate with gratitude the abundance of goodness that surrounds us. We should keep our hearts, ears and eyes open for God’s presence in our midst, and for the goodness that does surround us. So as I draw this time together to a close, I invite you to consider Rev. Dr. Keefe’s question: “Where are you finding God’s abundance these days?” Look for it, name it, cherish it.
God Bless, Rev. Tara Ann
If you would like to read all of Rev. Dr. Rachael Keefe’s blog post, you can find it here on the RevGalBlog.