Kelowna’s Memorial Park Cemetery is a beautiful spot, sitting next to the Golf Course. The two seem to blend effortlessly into each other with perfectly placed shrubs and trees, and mischievous deer gazing and grazing. A sacred place of memories. To stroll curiously around graveyards is a fascinating voyage into lives and histories. Scanning the carefully chiseled words unlocks a kaleidoscope of thoughts and a window into the past. Psalm 23 can always be found on those grey granite memorials. A couple of weeks ago, I stood by the Bennett Columbaria, conducting a funeral service. People scattered because of pandemic protocol. Lifting my voice, I read some of the great verses of the Christian faith. “The Lord is my Shepherd,” the Psalm danced naturally in the air and rested with a comforting touch on those gathered. Why does it have such authority? I’m reminded of the famous London Preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834 -1892) who said, “We have all things and abound; not because I have a good store of money in the bank, not because I have skill and wit with which to win my bread, but because the Lord is my shepherd.” Psalm 23 has taken a prominent role in funeral services. When the Psalmist speaks of abundance and true contentment that can be found while living, it is viewed as a sentimental poem; for most people with faith, they can recite it from memory. When its real power is that it speaks of someone living a life of serenity, knowing that the Shepherd is continually watching and caring for them and that this Shepherd meets all our needs. The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want. . . The Theologian Dallas Willard (1935 -2013) encapsulates my point, “one of our greatest needs today is for people to really see and really believe the things they already profess to see and believe. Knowing about things, knowing what they are, being able to identify them and say them, does not mean we believe them”. When we trust what we acknowledge, we are set to behave as if it were genuine. Acting as if things are true, means, in turn, that we live as if they were so. In these difficult and turbulent days, is it possible that the truth of this Psalm revisited can help us to live as if it were so? That God provides for us, fills our lives, takes us to a quiet spot, heals our souls, and that fear vanishes as we walk through the valley. Shall we live as if Psalm 23 is truth? May you find still waters this long weekend.
February 14, 2023