Psalm 23 is one the most famous piece of Hebrew scripture. It has been used in many funeral and memorial services. Many composers have set this text to music. It begins:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want.
The image of God as a shepherd might have been a common idea when the psalm was composed. Perhaps, many who sang this psalm were shepherds themselves or they would know a real shepherd in their daily life. But for today, how many of us really know a real shepherd? So, the image of God as the shepherd can be quite foreign for us today.
He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters.
A shepherd knows where the green pastures and sources of water are (sustenance for the sheep) and lead the sheep to these sources.
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I shall fear no evil; for you are with me . . .
A shepherd provides a safe environment so that the sheep do not live in fear of scarcity but in the assurance of abundance.
… my cup is running over.
In other words, the shepherd is a sustainist leader.
A sustainist leader knows the needs of people in the community. A sustainist leader knows from where the resources for wellness flow. A sustainist leader enables the people to connect, utilize and benefit from these sources. A sustainist protects the people in the community from harm, assuring them that there is an abundance of resources that can feed everyone spiritually, physically, socially and economically.
Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life . . .
Invite members of your community to gather and explore being sustainist leaders in your community:
Reflection Questions for 4th Sunday of Easter (Year B)
1 John 3:16-24
Eric H. F. Law
For competent leadership in a diverse changing world
Upcoming Opportunities to Study with The Sustainist:
May 4-5, 2012
May 7-11, 2012
Register at: www.kscopeinstitute.org