Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday Morning Meds--Lie down. . .


“He makes me to lie down in green pastures” Psalm 23

My word, I only wish He’d do it more often. 

In ye olden days, way back when I took a teaching job at the college where I stayed forever almost, a whole gang of my colleagues (me included) would walk over to the college coffee shop twice a day—that’s right, twice a day—for a half-hour break. That was forever ago, about the time Edison first lit the incandescent bulb. No one in my department suite has daily coffee today. Who on earth would take the time? Could? 

Last Saturday our church held its annual fall cleanup. A whole bunch of us get together to wash windows, clean gutters, vacuum Sunday School rooms, do whatever, and “fellowship.” I ripped up a moldy basement rug, and, for most of the day, ate the grainy black dust I scraped up from the floor beneath that shoddy carpet. 

I didn’t “fellowship” all that much, in part because I was ornery. I felt as if I had to go to cleanup day, and my time is precious. I’d have much rather paid some clown to lift that carpet because like most everyone else I know, these days I have far more money than time. And I don’t have a lot of money. 

I’m busy—who isn’t? I still drink coffee; but my cup sits on a little electric hot pad beside my computer in the confines of my office. I never visited the coffee shop last year. Never. 

I don’t lie down in green pastures. Goodness knows I wouldn’t have to look far; in fact, I know a couple of acreages that look downright inviting. But what I want to know is, who’s got that kind of time? 

I know this verse is metaphor. David the poet is just stretching the comparison into a conceit: because the Lord is my shepherd, he (like a shepherd) makes me (like a sheep) lie down on sweet green grass. I know he doesn’t mean laying out some kind of blanket and taking it easy; trust me, I’m not throwing a tent up next weekend along the Floyd River. In Iowa it’s still winter. 

I wonder whether anyone ever thought of the sheep here (the me of the poem) as a victim. After all, there’s verifiable coercion in the verse. Psalm 23:2 does not say, “I lie down when I feel like it.” David claims victimhood: “he makes me lie down.” That’s why I say, I wish He’d do it more often. I wish the Lord would put me down on some sweet green grass—maybe even once a week. Okay, once a month. 

Sounds dangerous. How many people don’t I know who’ve said, after a hernia or a blown knee or even a head cold that they would have never guessed they could exist three days (or more!) in bed? Sometimes the Lord does, in fact, make us lie down. 

But we all know that David’s not simply remembering bout of flu. What he’s saying is that the Lord Almighty takes care of me; he makes me lie down. He shows me some fine places and settles me in. He takes care of me. 

Me too—a “Schaap,” someone whose name actually means “sheep.” He takes care of me. He makes me lie down in green pastures, even when I don’t. He takes care of me even when I don’t ask him. He shepherds me, even when I don’t shepherd myself. 

I think I may have stumbled on to something. The Lord God Almighty cares for me, he loves me, even when—far too busy, my own life seemingly out of control—I don’t care about myself enough to smell the roses or the fresh green grass. 

Point me, Lord, as some sweet pastureland—winter or not. Make me lie down. Care for me in this spinning and spitting world of cares and pleasures. Love me as you promise.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Should He ever allow you to "lie down" in the shade of a Hedge Apple tree, consider it's bark and if it's straight up-n-down for about a 6ft. length, cut it down and send it to me and I'll transform it into a stick of beauty. At least 4-6 inches in Dia. Better yet, let me know and I'll come over and get it. (from the Rez)

Anonymous said...

Resting in the Shepard's care begins each day and lasts through eternity,"and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever". Here on the "Res" our Creator's beauty and love shows forth from His creation and His creatures who survive in this cold windy weather. Sprinkle a generous handfull of bird seed out your back door and participate in God's love to all His creatures. Stick to it my friend, and thank you!

Anonymous said...

Cone flowers. I hear they have an awful disease attacking them. They are one of my favorites.

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