November 16, 2019 DeAnna Prather

The 23rd Psalm

The 23rd Psalm

Last Sunday, Jeffrey Corley did a deep unpack of the infamous 23rd Psalm. If you were raised in church like I was, you probably memorized that in elementary school. I got the amazing pleasure of being in Mrs. Bachman's 2nd grade Sunday school at Glen Alpine UMC. Some kids dreaded this year of Sunday school because this was the year you were expected to start memorizing things longer than a single Bible verse. Most left her Sunday school class having 3 stars by your name - one each for memorizing Apostle's Creed, The Lord's Prayer, and the 23rd Psalm.

I couldn't wait, because I loved Mrs. Bachman. I couldn't wait to be in her class. She was my favorite person at church. She always had a warm smile and a hug for me. I don't know if she was like this for everyone, or if we had something special. I like to think it was the latter. 

My maternal grandmother passed 6 months before I was born. My paternal grandfather died when my father was only 5. My paternal grandmother lived in the same town but went to a different church. My maternal grandfather remarried when I was about a year old to my Mammaw Bonnie. (Yes, that is my daughter's namesake!) They lived next door and attended Glen Alpine with us on Sundays. I was very close to my Mammaw Bonnie. When she died when I was 6, I was devastated. Maybe this is why I attached so strongly to Mrs. Bachman. She became my spiritual grandmother. 

Memorization didn't scare me - I guess no one should have been surprised that I majored in Theatre & Speech later in college. And no shock, I got my 3 stars. Even now more than 30 years later, I still see Mrs. Bachman standing just behind me tapping on each word of the scripture as I say either of these verses. I am so glad that I memorized these core passages so young. These are great cornerstones for my life and they are surely my anchors. 

But the 23rd Psalm is the one passage that invades part of my life. I remember the 23rd Psalm at these times:

When I see a lamb - because the whole passage is a metaphor for a shepherd.

When I see a cat - because Mrs. Bachman was always sewing these little embrodiered cat "dolls". I actually had a basket with a family of Bachman cats.

When I'm scared

When I'm upset

When I'm happy

When I'm grateful

Jeffrey's take on the 23rd psalm was fascinating to me and I am so glad I got to hear it twice! If you missed it, you can watch that worship service here: