Psalm 23. An introduction.

So, what I’m hoping to do is write a little post on Mondays for a while.  I catch up with three lads in Costa over a weekly cup of something (currently Black Forest Hot Chocolate for me, and the others are all rather taken with the cold drinks).  We just have a general catch up, often somewhat distracted by electronic devices, and then a chat about something Christian.  This is inspired by Urban Saints’ Live Life 1-2-3.  We went through a period of thinking about specific words (like ‘ambassador’, ‘grace’ and so on).  We’ve recently started looking at Psalm 23.  I’ve found the book ‘Travelling Light’, by Max Lucado, really helpful in thinking about this.

Basically, each week, after we’ve just had a chat and catch-up, we’ve kicked things off with a starter question.  We chat about that, then have a look at the Psalm (we read it through the first week and have done so again since)

Like I say, I’ll try to blog about it on a Monday.  We’ll see how it goes!  This first one is the sort of intro to the Psalm, without getting into much detail on the finer points!

So, without further ado, here’s the starter:

What’s the heaviest thing you’ve ever carried?

I have to say, this led to an amusing bit of chat for a while.  After we’d chatted and chuckled our way around this question for a bit, we read through Psalm 23 together.

I then talked about the burdens that we might carry around that aren’t physical.  We might have to carry things that weigh heavily on us.  Or perhaps we choose to carry them…   But Psalm 23 shows us some of the things that are burdens, but which we can put down, and which don’t need to be carried any longer.  Our worries, our concerns, our fears, they can be put down – handed over to God.  This will be something that we keep coming back to.

Then I asked this question:  “Who’s your favourite teacher?  How would you feel if they said to you one day they wanted you to start using their first name, rather than their surname?”  We talked about the fact that this would suggest they wanted a different type of relationship than we might expect with a teacher.  I then asked how the Psalm it starts.  Predictably, the response was, ‘The Lord is my shepherd’.  But I wanted it shorter than that.  We got it down to ‘The Lord’ (sorry, I can’t seem to do the small CAPS on this blog…)  So we talked about the name of God.  I asked if they knew where it came from, and we chatted about Moses, and God revealing Himself in this new way.  He didn’t want to be known like the other ‘gods’ around at the time.  So even as we start looking at this Psalm, we’re reminded that the God who it’s speaking about is a God who wants a relationship with us.  It’s a God who lives, a God who loves His people, and a God who will never leave His people alone.

Of course, if you want to tie in some New Testament stuff too (which I’m trying to do each week) you can pretty easily tie in the incarnation.  A God who comes to His people.  And of course Jesus uses the term ‘I am’ when he’s being questioned in the run up to His crucifixion.  Plenty of scope for further discussion!

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