Psalm 23 (as translated by Robert Alter in The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary) A David psalm. The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. In grass meadows He makes me lie down, by quiet waters guides me. My life He brings back. He leads me on pathways of justice for His name’s sake. Though I walk in the vale of death’s shadow, I fear no harm, for You are with me. Your rod and Your staff— it is they that console me. You set out a table before me in the face of my foes. You moisten my head with oil, my cup overflows. Let but goodness and kindness pursue me all the days of my life. And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for many long days. Devotion by Rev. Courtney Jones Beloved ones, we are walking through “the vale of death’s shadow” in a time of deep uncertainty. The best I can tell, we are all overwhelmed. We worry about those we love who could fall victim to COVID-19. We worry about ourselves, about the bills that keep coming in whether or not we are getting paid, about supply chains and economic forces and how to keep ourselves safe. Our spirits are anxious and reverberating in us with all the reasons to fear, all the annoyances of interrupted schedules, all the exhaustion from reordering everything about our lives. We might feel isolated and alone, even in a crowded house. But we can take courage that God’s house is bigger than our houses. Psalm 23, probably the best-known and most-quoted Psalm, is a perfect reminder that Scripture is full of stories of people just like us, who faced fear and uncertainty and loneliness and even death. When our attempts to bring order and control to this chaos fail, we can find refuge in God, the One who brings us back to life, who brings us back to ourselves and back to our Source. The Psalmist reminds us that our Good Shepherd offers us a gentle place to land, resources for our health, and oil for our heads to remind us how beautiful and glorious we are. We are resilient, with God’s help. And even at a distance, we all dwell in the house, the home, the heart of God—together. Prayer Shepherd of my heart, lead me to pastures of peace and paths of justice. When I feel lost and alone, lead me back to the fold of Your flock, and help me reach out and remember that with You, we are never alone. In Jesus’s name and for Your love’s sake, Amen.