Our Devotion for today is taken from: Amazing Grace Devotions for Lent by Michael Hoy.
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
Psalm 23:1 NRSV
THE SHEPHERD’S GRACE
Through faith, we know that Christ, our Good Shepherd, is always with us, even when we pass through the “valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4 ESV). It is not uncommon, then, for this psalm to be read or sung at funerals. In life, and in death, we come up against the limits of our mortality. But in baptism, we are graced with the promise that we need never face these limits without God’s protective care and love.
We are joined with Christ as we die to sin and death, but we also are raised up with him now to new life. We are given the promise that we will not perish but will find eternal life and passage home.
The faithful remember the Shepherd who graces them so. I recently visited one such faithful woman who was in hospice. Her heart and mind were focused on the “final crossing” of her baptism – the last journey she would take to heaven. She mouthed these words to me during my visit, “Not afraid, eager.” She would die the next day, fully trusting in her Shepherd. Resting in him, she shall never want.
How have we equipped are loved ones to adjust to life without us, when our days on this side of creation are complete? We often shy away from having conversations with our loved ones about our death, believing we will have time to do so later. Yet, that time is not guaranteed, nor are we certain that we will have the cognitive ability to communicate our wishes. It is important that we discuss with our loved ones the details they will need to navigate one of the most challenging moments in their lives.
Yet, beyond discussing life insurance policies, pension beneficiaries, wills, trusts, bank accounts, and passwords, we need to discuss the gift of peace offered by our Good Shepherd. Michael’s reflection reminds us of the peace and comfort our Good Shepherd provides to us, through all our life challenges. It is that gift of peace and comfort that gives us the quiet assurance that the end is just a new beginning. It is the gifts of peace, comfort, and assurance that is invaluable for us to convey and pass on to our loved ones.
Lord, shepherd us in life and guard us in the hour of our death. Amen.