Yesterday, I looked out of the window over my kitchen sink. There, exuding all the joy of young animals, were all the weaned lambs. They’ve been trying out grass, and this is a relatively new pasture experience for them. It’s a new experience for me too. My brother-in-law, Shepherd Dan, has never kept the weaned lambs at our house before. Usually, after they’re toddlers and they go on to be weaned, they go back to the barn at his place.
So now, for the first time, I get to observe teenage lambs up close!
Over the years, as I’ve been observing the process of Shepherd Dan’s shepherding, I’ve been struck by how the metaphors used in the Bible are so right-on. Maybe they’re not as relevant to everyone living in suburbia, far from the smell of freshly-spread manure and the sounds of animals who think the truck pulling in is their meal ticket.
But for us, the sheep are like a living Bible passage.
And so, this week, I want to share a passage that is poetry to me, if poetry is, in fact, a body of words that evokes feeling and appreciation and joy. It has been a poem – if I may call it that – that I have come back to, again and again. I have prayed it when there have been no other words, in times of intense sorrow and times of intense joy. These are the words that came to my mind when I sat in Adoration, praying for Logan. These are the words that came to my mind when I held each of my daughters for the first time. These are the words that I can’t help but mutter as I scoot outside in my robe and slippers in the early morning hours to get a picture of the lambs in the back pasture.
A psalm of David.
The LORD is my shepherd;
there is nothing I lack.
In green pastures you let me graze;
to safe waters you lead me;
you restore my strength.
You guide me along the right path
for the sake of your name.
Even when I walk through a dark valley,
I fear no harm
for you are at my side;
your rod and staff give me courage.
You set a table before me as my enemies watch;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Only goodness and love will pursue me
all the days of my life;
I will dwell in the house of the LORD for years to come.