When I was a kid growing up in an atheist/agnostic family (my dad was the atheist and my mother the agnostic), I did not learn about the Bible at home. Or anywhere else, really. My mom took us to Quaker meeting occasionally, which is where I learned to say the Shema. But otherwise I had no education whatsoever in Scripture.
This is why it was very surprising to me when one day, in McDonalds of all places, my mother started quoting the 23rd Psalm. I don’t even remember why it came up, but I was deeply impressed that she knew all of it from memory. She recited it in this odd formal language that I now know to be the King James version. I must have been in sixth grade at the time. (I know this because I was on crutches at the time. It was in sixth grade that an overzealous post-disco skater had skated over me at the rink. I will spare you that story.)
Anyway, so I was about eleven years old, and my mom started teaching me this Psalm. I learned most of it right there over chicken nuggets and fries. It became for me like a talisman, something to recite when I was scared, like the time I watched The Exorcist and I wasn’t supposed to, or the time I watched The Omen and I wasn’t supposed to, or . . . you get the idea.
I loved this psalm, and still do. For many, many years it was the only psalm I knew, offering a rudder of beauty and a sparkling hint of God. Today, I have a number of Psalms in my spiritual arsenal, yet this tried and true gem has seen me through times of darkness and times of deep joy.
Which is why even in the midst of my sometimes snarky, sometimes angry, sometimes bewildered Twible project, some things are just sacred. The Lord is my shepherd, even in the valley of the shadow of death. The Lord is my shepherd, and he leads me to green pastures and still waters. The Lord is my shepherd, and my cup runneth over. Amen.
Recent Twible entries:
#Twible Ps 17: Hide me in the shadow of your wings, G. They’re even cozier than goose down, AND they don’t hurt the environment. A win-win.
#Twible Ps 18: Long & trippy psalm about G’s badass warrior days. Smoke even came from his nostrils. Do they make holy Kleenex for that?
#Twible Ps 19: “Heaven’s telling the glory of God…” So THAT’s what heaven’s saying. I have AT&T, see. It kept dropping heaven’s calls.
#Twible Ps 20: May G grant your ?’s desire & fulfill all your plans. Except that scheme about meeting Angelina Jolie. Give it up, man.
#Twible Ps 21: Righteous monarchs get blessings & a long reign. Well, except Lady Jane Grey. Her 9-day reign didn’t end well. But OTHERWISE…
#Twible Ps 22: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Was it the onions I ate? Or maybe the beans? I KNEW I should’ve avoided the beans.
#Twible Ps 23: G’s my shepherd. He lets me nap in green pastures. He protects me from the wolves. Sometimes it rocks to be a sheep, y’know?