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serving jesus christ the king

June's Verse - Which Shepherd?

On our calendar the verse for June is the words of Jesus:

“I am the Good Shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)

Jesus, in saying this was picking up on imagery familiar to his listeners. But it also linked into their musical history in Psalm 23, which, for us, is perhaps the best known ancient song. How many other songs 3000 years old do you know?

I was thinking what Psalm 23 might be like if it had been written by someone today. It sets up quite a contrast with the original.

I am my own shepherd
I am always in need.
I stumble from one task to another,
bombarded by demands and mobile phones,
I don’t have a moment’s peace.
I wander in paths of busyness
seeking identity but never finding it.

When death casts its shadow over my life,
I crawl through the valley,
and I am afraid,
despite all my friends I am desperately alone;
all their gaiety
doesn't comfort me.

People around me trample over me,
in the rush to be first.
I anoint my headache with aspirin;
I drown my doubts in an overflowing Guinness.

Peace and contentment are strangers to me
most of the days of my life
and I will dwell in low self-esteem
for the rest of my life.

The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.

Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
for ever.
Thankfully, although times have changed, Jesus hasn’t. And he still offers to be the good shepherd to all who come to him and put their trust in him. Shall busyness, or family, or work, or pleasure lay down its life for me? Can they bring ultimate lasting peace and contentment, a certainty of goodness and mercy?

Which shepherd do you have?