Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Psalms & Shepherds

A dear family friend passed away recently, and I had the privilege of attending her Memorial Service today.

Like most services, many people spoke about her wonderful qualities, her long, rich life, how much she loved her family and how much she'll be missed.

The part that stood out the most, however, was when one of the pastors of the church she and her husband had attended for several decades, got up and gave a short sermon.

As he was in his golden years, his voice quivered at times, but the message he brought was strong and true. His 3 point sermon was simple, and included the following story that I just had to share. In fact, I remember sitting there thinking to myself, "I need to remember all of this so I can blog about it later."---How sad is that?!?

Anyway, the story goes like this:

The banquet hall was filled. To speak for the occasion, a renowned orator had been brought in. After a wonderful meal, he mesmerized the crowd with his voice as he recited poetry and famous selections of speeches.

Near the end of the program, he asked if anyone had a favorite selection that they would like for him to recite. From the back of the room, an old man stood up and kindly asked if he would mind reciting the 23rd Psalm. The speaker said that he would be glad to do it if, when he was finished, the old man would recite it as well. The old gentleman nodded his head and sat back down.

In a beautifully trained voice that resonated throughout the great room, the speaker began, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures…” When he was finished, there was thunderous applause and a standing ovation.

He then looked at the old man and said, “Alright sir, it is your turn now.”

In a trembling voice that was cracked by time, the old man began to recite, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…” It is said that when he was finished, there was no applause, but neither was there a dry eye in the building.

After the event, someone asked the famous speaker what he thought produced the different responses in the crowd. The speaker paused, thought for a moment and said, “I know the 23rd Psalm, but that man knows the shepherd. That makes all the difference.”

I know that I will see my Auntie Boopie again, because we both know the Shepherd. So although she will be greatly missed, as someone said today, we can take joy, in the midst of our sorrow, knowing that we will see her again when we have the same eternal address.

Do you know the Shepherd?

Blessings, friends~