Easter 4 2020 Corby Varness
St. Marks folks: I miss you all! After weeks of isolation, I’m getting used to the quiet, but I sure miss checking in with everyone. I welcome this opportunity to chat with you all.
Today is Good Shepherd Sunday and since we are without our tradition of hearing lots of readings, I will narrow down my sermon to talk about just one: the 23rd Psalm. We all know it but let us go over it again and please read it slowly and out loud:
“The Lord is my shepherd: I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
I think my blood pressure went down when I read that. Did yours? What part of that psalm jumps out at you? I particularly noticed ‘still waters’ since our lives are so still and “walking through the valley of the shadow of death” because too many people are doing just that right now.
Jesus teaches us to put others before ourselves. That also seems to be the foremost lesson of these days: stay home so that others can stay healthy. Seeing armed protesters with signs that say “I need a haircut” is the antithesis of this mindset. Their haircut is more important that our health. Aaugh.
We are most definitely living through trying, scary, lonely times. I pray but my prayer is simply this: “God help us! God help us!”
I was having a very tough time recently, not because of anything affecting me directly but because I was so very worried about everyone else getting sick or losing money. Here’s what helped me: acknowledging my deep fear and depression, then taking action. Kevin and I were able to figure out some ways to help others and then, with Karen and Riley’s (masked) help, we cooked Italian Delight for over 200 people. Finding ways to connect with others saved me. Putting others before myself dug me out of that depressing hole.
The 23rd psalm beautifully illustrates how Jesus walks with us. Jesus leads us to safe places; Jesus makes us sit down at table with our enemies. Jesus stays with us through dangerous places.
Jesus will get us through all of this. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives and we can look forward with joy to meeting again in person.