Psalm 23 (King James Version)
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
These words are often read at funerals. They are a great comfort to many at the time of the death of a loved one. The images of the Creation in the 23rd Psalm are beautiful and bring us peace.
On Friday I took my oldest son and a friend to Roanoke. They were on their way to a Virginia United Methodist Conference youth leadership retreat known as LEAD. We stopped in Charlottesville to move a few pieces of furniture for my Uncle in assisted living then headed onto to Roanoke. I returned to Charlottesville later Friday night to stay over night to continue helping my Uncle pack up his condo on Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday after we had been through the master bedroom we began to go through some boxes of memorabilia. The first one we opened had all the things from my Aunt’s funeral twelve years ago. There were at least 100 sympathy cards. As I was putting them into the recycling I took off the stamps (a friend recycles them for a mission project) and just checked the cards to make sure there were no photos or other things my Uncle needed to keep. I would say 85% of those cards had some sort of nature picture on the front. There were flowers and butterflies and birds and beautiful scenery, etc. There a few with the 23rd Psalm or a picture of Jesus as the Great Shepherd on them.
Obviously I am not the only one who turns to nature when I need comfort. There is something about green pastures, still
waters, flowers and birds that are signs of life, peace, and hope. There is something in those images that brings us comfort and helps us to remember we are loved by an awesome God who created us and who welcomes us home when are lives on earth are done.