Good morning everyone. The text for our brief meditation today is from Psalm 23. You’ll have to forgive me for the translation, but some texts of scripture are just more beautiful and poetic in the King James Version.
So, here you go: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to minister to the family of Harriet Moore at her graveside service in York, NE. But prior to that I had the opportunity to minister to Harriet in the days leading up to her death.
I shared these very verses of scripture with her and I spoke to her about a time when my sisters and I were growing up and how at night we used to play this game called hide-n-seek. Perhaps many of you remember playing this game as a child. Anyhow, sometimes we would play this game at night and if the moon was shining just right you would see these huge, scary shadows being cast onto the house and garage, and at any moment these huge, scary shadows looked like they were going to come and get you and take you away.
Well, as it turned out, these huge, scary shadows turned out to be nothing more than a reflection of my sisters and the neighborhood kids, nothing to fear at all. So, you ask, why share this story. I share it because it’s a reminder of how the psalmist talks about death. For the Christian death is but a “shadow,” yes shadows can be scary at times, but God promises to take us through, even the shadows, to the very gate of His heaven.
This text is instructive for us too, isn’t it? How many of us are fearful of death because of the coronavirus, sitting at home, isolating ourselves less we get the dreaded bug. To be sure the virus is real and precautions are necessary. But to such fear I say again with the psalmist: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” Will you think on these things? Amen.
Pastor Bryan E. Drebes
Pastor Drebes attended Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, beginning in 1997. He spent the summer of 1999 teaching English to Chinese middle school teachers in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China. He served a four-month vicarage at St. John Lutheran Church, Plymouth, Wisconsin, followed by eight months at Bethany Lutheran Church, Overland Park, Kansas. Pastor Drebes was ordained into the Office of the Holy Ministry at Zion Lutheran Church, Palmyra, Missouri on August 19, 2001, and installed as Associate Pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church, Overland Park, Kansas on September 9, 2001. He served Bethany for 14 years. Pastor Drebes accepted a Divine