Tuesday, September 15, 2009

THE GOOD SHEPHERD

Metrical and musical compositions of Psalm 23 are popularly recited during prayers. This psalm has a prominent place in Jewish and Christian liturgy. In this psalm, King David, who himself was a shepherd in his early years, depicts the Lord as a loving shepherd and each of us as the sheep under His tender care. God, the Good Shepherd, provides His sheep with fine food, fresh water, affectionate care, rest, strength, guidance, honour, love and protection. Jesus is described as the Good Shepherd in the New Testament {John 10: 11-16}.

Once, a talented young singer sang this psalm in a melodious voice before a large audience. After the performance, there was a loud applause. The people praised the singer’s skill and clapped their hands in appreciation. Then the arrogant singer challenged the listeners to come to the stage and recite the psalm more impressively. He offered a precious prize to anyone who could surpass him in musical skill.

There was a brief silence. Then a very old man slowly moved to the front using a walking stick. He meditated for a moment and recited the same psalm from the depth of his heart, displaying deep and sincere sentiments which touched the hearts of every listener. Tears rolled down from his closed eyes and soon the audience was filled with the Holy Spirit. When he stopped the recital, the spellbound listeners spontaneously raised their hands to praise the Lord – the Good Shepherd - who was presented before them vividly by the impressive recital.

The first singer fell down at the feet of the old man, crying and apologizing for his arrogance. He declared aloud to the large gathering, “I am really sorry. I boasted that I knew the psalm and its music. But here is one who knows the Shepherd Himself.”

We may make eloquent sermons and recite melodious music about the Words of God. But they are meaningless if we do not personally know and experience the loving Lord who composed those words for the world. There are different forms of music. But what makes it melodious is the simple hymn in a humble heart. Words overflowing from a heart filled with the love of God have the power to transform even hardened hearts.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need” {Psalm 23: 1}.

“Even if I go through the deepest darkness, I will not be afraid, Lord, for you are with me” {Psalm 23:4}.

“I know that your goodness and love will be with me all my life; and your house will be my home as long as I live” {Psalm 23: 6}.

By: Dr. Babu Philip, Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India.

This is Story No. 159 in this site. Please click ‘Older Posts’ at the bottom of a page to read previous stories and click 'Newer Posts' at the bottom of a page to read newer stories in this site. Please click on a word in the 'Story Themes' to read stories on that theme.

1 comment:

aneesh mathew said...

Great work, continue to do