God is certainly a guide in this past week's readings. Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt in their epic escape in one of the most exhilarating stories in the bible. We also hear about our Good Shepherd in the 23rd Psalm, which is quite possibly the most well-known. And these two stories and readings have not yet brought Christ into the story, our God Incarnate as guide.
I spoke this week with someone who recites the 23rd Psalm on a daily basis. Jesus often practiced reciting the Psalms by memory as well. These stories are so familiar, we often gloss over the power they contain or we can get lost in the emotions attached to them. I cannot imagine the fear, exhaustion, hope, and joy of the Israelites as they left Egypt. A pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire simultaneously guiding and protecting their path through walls of water. They were protecting from their enemies. A shepherd guiding God's people out of bondage into freedom.
The 23rd Psalm sets a table before our enemies! A table is often what brings people together. We share food, discuss, laugh, and sit. We don't sit on one side (unlike the popular image of the last supper), but facing each other. Yes, a table can guide us to a table for reconciliation.
Christ is heading towards Jerusalem, leading his disciples who will go out into the world. He will be crucified for our sake as our shepherd, our guide. How has reading the Scriptures provided a guide to your life? How is Christ your guide, your shepherd? Perhaps in those intense times in conflict, in sorrow, in joy, you may remember, "the Lord is my Shepherd." Know that the pillar of fire and cloud are part of our lives and stories. We now have Christ who sits with us at the table, who leads us through the waters, and who goes with us in our daily lives.
The Rev. William L. Packard
I am excited to read the Bible with you, not only for the knowledge and ability to say, "I've read the whole thing," but for the wonderful things that occur when Scripture is read intentionally each day.