Sunday, 22 July 2012

22nd July 2012 - Sermon on Psalm 23

from wikipedia on Psalm 23
Today we heard that:

Sheep cannot defend themselves; they are slow, clumsy, have no fangs, no roar. They depend on the shepherd to save them from wolves and lions.
Sheep cannot clean themselves; once their coat is dirty, it remains that way until cleaned by the shepherd. 
Sheep are naturally fearful; they can be scared to death.
Sheep cannot find food and water; they have a weak sense of smell. left to their own devices, they will eat poisonous plants.
Sheep are scared of running water; they may choke if they try and drink from it.

The shepherds play their pipes, or stringed instruments, so that the sheep know that he is near and are reassured. The shepherds know their sheep by name.
In the hottest part of the day, they call their sheep to the shade, and force them to lie down by tying their back legs together; otherwise they would wander off and perish in the heat.
When the shepherd brings them to a stream, he makes a dam with stones, so that the water becomes a still pond for them to drink safely.
Once the snows have melted from the mountain tops, he leads them through dangerous, stony, shadowy, narrow passes to the fresh green grass on the uplands. The top of the mountain is known as a "table" in Hebrew. Before the sheep are allowed to wander, the shepherd checks the pasture for snake holes. When he finds the holes, he pours oil into then, a mixture of linseed oil, tar and sulphur. This prevents the snakes from coming out of the holes to attack the sheep. He then anoints the sheep's heads with the same oil, to ward off nose flies.  

If a sheep is an incurable wanderer, as a last resort, the shepherd will break the sheep's leg, splint it, and carry the sheep while the injury heals. By the time the sheep can walk again, it will have got used to the shepherd and have learnt to stay close.

What I took from the sermon:

The Summer holidays are a time to rest and be refreshed. Rather than taking "Time Out" I should think of it as "Time In", that is, Time spent In God's presence. Looking at what I have lined up for the summer, at first sight that looks like yet another item on the list. Actually, it will probably make everything else on the list more possible and less hectic.

When I read about the broken leg bit, years ago, in a Delia Smith prayer book, I was horrified, and couldn't bear the cruelty of it. I still find it hard to accept; but the truth is, if we wander off, things happen. The vicar quoted David Watson; "not a bed of sickness, but a bed of stillness, a forced opportunity to stop, to pay attention to God and stay in his presence". Well, David Watson should know.  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qif2rfBmcTA

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6V0rgrt1nTM

God in my living, there in my breathing, God in my waking, God in my sleeping.
God in my resting, there in my working, God in my thinking, God in my speaking.
Be my everything.
God in my hoping, there in my dreaming, God in my watching, God in my waiting.
God in my laughing, there in my weeping, God in my hurting, God in my healing.
Christ in me, Christ in me, Christ in me, the hope of glory,
You are everything.
Christ in me, Christ in me, Christ in me, the hope of glory,
Be my everything.

Psalm 23 New International Version (NIV)

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.  He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,[a] I will fear no evil,
for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23:4 Or the valley of the shadow of death

Psaumes 23 La Bible du Semeur (BDS)

L'Eternel est mon berger

23 Psaume de David.
L'Eternel est mon berger[a]Je ne manquerai de rien.
2 Grâce à lui, je me repose dans des prairies verdoyantes,
et c'est lui qui me conduit au bord des eaux calmes.
3 Il me rend des forces neuves, et, pour l'honneur de son nom,
il me mène pas à pas sur le droit chemin.
4 Si je devais traverser la vallée où règnent les ténèbres de la mort[b],
je ne craindrais aucun mal, car tu es auprès de moi:
ta houlette me conduit et ton bâton me protège.
5 Pour moi, tu dresses une table[c] aux yeux de mes ennemis,
tu oins de parfums ma tête[d], tu fais déborder ma coupe.
6 Oui, toute ma vie, ta bonté et ton amour m'accompagneront
et je pourrai retourner[e] au temple de l'Eternel tant que je vivrai[f].



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