Psalm 23-and-a-half

The Lord is my shepherd,

whether I like it or not.

I shall not want.

Except for a bigger house, a nicer car a slimmer waistline;

a newer device, a little more power;

and to always, always, every day, be right about everything.

He makes me lie down in green pastures

as the world grays with concrete

and browns with toxic fumes

and bleeds with violence and rage.

He leads me beside still waters

                           even though I pull away, and make a run for the choppy sea

of my own thoughts, complaints, and addictions.

He restores my soul.

from its own self-inflicted wounds

He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake…

For his name’s sake,

even as I celebrate with my own signature.

 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil;

even as I log on, tune in, and worship at

the altar of fearful story

that we call news.

For you are with me;

even as the world spins into chaos, crippled by the hatred of other,

Your rod and your staff—they comfort me

They tell me a better story,

And call me back to your side.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies

And ask only that I sit and dine with them.

You anoint my head with oil;

And call me to live a life worthy of this benediction.

My cup overflows

With sorrow, with remorse,

With gratitude.

Because for all my selfish, wandering, fearful and faithless ways,

I know that

goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,

Even now.  Even on the worst day, the worst week, the worst moment

Of the created, human world.

And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord  my whole life long,

Singing a new song,

and telling the Shepherd’s story

into the darkness.




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  • Rachel Rev

    This is lovely, Erin. Thank you.

  • Liza Purdy

    Love this. Sharing.

  • Sue Ellen Hall

    This is most wonderful…. May I share it in my sermon tomorrow?

  • Bob Fugate

    Beyond and above thank you

  • William Clarke

    Great “honest” expansion of the 23rd Psalm. ‘Fred Craddock Award’ — He wat a great preacher and teacher of preachers.What a marvelous honor/award for you. Are any of your sermon manuscripts online? Not to worry, I am a retired Am.Bapt.Pastor, not many sermons these days. My wife Evelyn used to keep track in her study Bible of how many times I’d preached on a specific txt. Her ‘sticky’ notes in Pittman (not Gregg) shorthand with the main points listed revealed that I never gave the same sermon twice even if I recylcd the text.

  • mhelbert

    k. I’m almost a month late in reading this. I reads like a statement of faith. Thang Q!

  • I love memorizing this Psalm