Prayer: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Amen.
Reading: Psalm 23 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Editor’s Note: A few weeks ago when Beth Roux was in camp during Week 5, she was inspired by our study of Psalm 23 and reflected upon that. Her reflection is today’s devotion. Beth is a former staff member, board member, volunteer, and now mother of one of our counselors and campers!
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. We all know this, we have heard it over and over our whole lives. But what does it say to you?
Today is Friday, the last day of the week at Camp Mount Luther. It is pouring rain and has been since last night. The campers are tired but still sad that they will soon need to leave each other. Psalm 23 is the lesson of today. It speaks to the campers about their roles as a Christian every day as they head outside of this place where it is always so safe to be a Christian.
But what does it say to the campers? To help them, a counselor asks them, “What is a shepherd?” The answers come pouring out. He is to take care of the sheep, he is to keep them together and he is to protect them from wolves. “He is even part of the Christmas story!” one camper adds.
“Good!” says the counselor. “Now what do you know about the sheep?” “Well they are kind and gentle animals,” someone says, “They need help,” someone adds. And then one person (who has been to sheep camp) chimes in, “They are dumb and smelly animals!”
The counselor soon puts the lesson together to help the campers remember that the Lord is the shepherd. He cares for us. He holds us together in groups. He saves us from our dangerous and fearful times. He cares for us even as we are dumb and smelly. And he was there right away at our birth just as he was there at our Savior’s birth.
Now, which are we as adults? Are we the shepherds or the sheep? Are we the ones who protect others and keep the groups together? Sometimes it seems that we are. We often try and we can help each other.
As I was at camp this week, I was amazed at the counselors. These are truly young adults, some of them are only 18 or 19 years old as they work as shepherds. They are keeping the campers safe as they herd them together in groups. The kids follow them together, on paths that have been here at camp as long as the camp grounds have been around. They are paths that lead them from one place to another. They take on this job at such a young age, but they know they can do it because their own Shepherd is leading them.
Do you still feel this as an adult? Do you still have the ability to sometimes act as the shepherd? Do we help protect each other as we need protection and keep each other on the right path as we seem to stray?
And do we have the ability to do it because you know that your shepherd is always there for you. He is the one who will lead us and protect us all the day of our lives. --Beth Roux
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