A favorite psalm
Yesterday in church, we sang "The Lord's My Shepherd". It's one of my favorite hymns.
Our hymnbook uses the melody "Belmont" (by William Gardiner, 1770-1853), but several melodies are associated with the hymn. You can hear a very nice recording of " The Lord's My Shepherd" sung to the hymn tune "Crimond" at Psalm 23, a British site.
During his sermon, Pastor talked a little about the comfort that many Christians find in the words of Psalm 23. He brought unexpected tears to my eyes, because I immediately thought of my mother reciting the 23rd Psalm as she went under anesthesia for surgery.
I think I was about five years old when my mother helped me memorize Psalm 23. Then, I best understood the part about the shepherd and the water and the green pasture. Those were things I could easily imagine, having seen the cows in my father's pasture.
Now many years later, the rest of the psalm is within my experience, too. I understand why paths of rightousness are better for me. My soul has needed restoring countless times. I have had enemies who wished me ill. I have passed through the valley of the shadow of death a few times, and I have had times of great happiness when my cup overflowed with God's blessings.
David wrote the Shepherd's Psalm 2000 years ago (or thereabouts). His world was vastly different from mine, but his words are still intensely meaningful to me. Timeless truth underlies each image in the psalm. Like the parts of the Iliad that made me cry when I read them, the setting may be ancient, but the truths are eternal.