Genuine faith is never a private matter, something hidden away in ones mind and spirit. Faith, when truly alive, has transformative power, both in the life of the individual believer and in the broader society. That power, unleashed in dramatic fashion on the first Pentecost, continues to be poured out on all those who open themselves to saving grace. The visible result is a life marked by faith, hope, and love. Come, Holy Spirit.
The Good Shepherd
Psalm 23; Acts 9:36-43; Revelation 7:9-17; John 10:22-30
Along with the Lords Prayer, the 23rd Psalm is perhaps the best known passage in all of scripture, and with good reason: This simple yet eloquent poem encapsulates a central understanding of our faith. Though evil surrounds us, we neednt fear, because the good shepherd guides and protects us.
This is one of those passages where more contemporary translations have trouble standing up to the elegance, beauty, and familiarity of the King James. (Some even consider Lancelot Andrewes, the chief translator of the King James Bible, to be on par with his contemporary William Shakespeare as the greatest writer in the English language.) Its hard to match the poignancy and power of, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil." The comforting reassurance that "thou art with me" even in the shadow of death underscores the vital truth that the presence and the power of God overcomes evil, even death, and that we are invited to "dwell in the house of the Lord forever."