Thursday, March 11, 2010

In The Valley

Two funerals in two days. A busy time, as well as everything else that goes on in the parish. But it's a privilege to be allowed into peoples' homes in their times of grief (as well as the happy times on other occasions). At most funerals, I'll read the 23rd Psalm. A very fitting psalm for people in the midst of the valley of the shadow of death.

A dark place, with grief at the loss of loved ones, the sadness and shock and mourning that comes when confronted with our great enemy. But death will not win. There is no fear in the valley. Why?

'You are with me' (Psalm 23:4)

You - the Lord himself, the one who knows the valley of the shadow of death, who walked this path himself, who has passed through and triumphed over death by being raised to life in the resurrection. YOU are with me.

Are - present continuous tense, not just in the past, not just in the future, but now, in my hour of need. You ARE with me.

With - present alongside, accompanying on the pathway, so that I am not alone, not abandoned. You are WITH me.

Me - the one who deserves death, the one who should fear, but also the one who has been saved, rescued, freed, given life and assured of eternity with God where there is no death. You are with ME.

What a great phrase and a great truth to hold on to at all times, but especially when facing death and bereavement.

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