Tim’s Daily Bread Devotional 6.7.22

By June 7, 2022Daily Bread

Good morning!

I hope this day finds you and your family well. I invite you to take a few moments with me to read and reflect upon today’s scripture selection — and to carry these thoughts with you into your day.

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 23 (King James Version)

A Psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

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 forever.

 

Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today

One of the great treasures of our family is a kind of audio archive that my father began to create in the 1940’s.  He had a machine called a “Recordeo” that cut records.  It used a heated needle to burn a groove into 78 RPM records made of a plastic, waxy kind of material.  Later, before they completely deteriorated and after the prevailing technology had changed, he transferred those to tape.  In December of 1959, he bought a reel-to-reel tape recorder, and he continued to record audio tapes at special family events.  I still have that recorder. It weighs about 700 pounds and is full of vacuum tubes, and the last time I plugged it in and turned it on, it dimmed the lights.  I had the notion that you could heat a room with it.  Many years ago, I transferred those old tapes to cassette tapes.  Then, a few years later, I converted those tapes to digital files.

My father recorded one of the great treasures in our family audio archive in February of 1960 at my great-grandmother’s 87th birthday party.  It is of my great-grandmother reciting the 23rd Psalm.

Part of what makes it such a great treasure and a great story in our family is that after he asked her to recite the 23rd Psalm, she hesitated a moment and said, “Uh, the 23rd Psalm?”

She paused some more, searching the memory banks a little bit.  And so, my dad thought he would prompt her, and he said, “Yeah, you know, the 23rd Psalm – Now I lay me down to sleep….”  Great Biblical scholar that he was, we never let him forget it as long as he lived, and I’m grateful now that he did not erase the tape.  I might have edited that out if it had been me, but he left it there for all of posterity to appreciate—at his expense.

Whenever I read the 23rd Psalm, I think about my great-grandmother.  I listened to that recording again not long ago.  Once you get past my father trying to prompt her, there are those beautiful words of the 23rd Psalm that—because of my Dad’s recording—I can hear many years later in her voice with one of those southern accents with the soft “r’s.

But she was a woman who did not live a soft life.  She had a hard time.  She walked through many valleys of the shadow of death.  When she was a young woman, and she and her husband had had their children, her husband died in his early 30s very suddenly and left her alone to raise those children.  She walked through a lot of valleys.  She remarried after those children had grown up, and, unfortunately, she married a man who was physically abusive.  In a day and time when society would make it clear that an abused woman pretty much had to stay with her husband, she left to escape that abuse.

This was a woman who knew the dark valleys but hearing her recite those words, there is no question that she knew she didn’t walk alone.  “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,” and I can just hear the wonderful accent of her kind voice, “and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever,” she said.

Our great hope is that we are not alone in the darkest valleys, and our Good Shepherd leads us home.

 

Hymn: “The King of Love My Shepherd Is”

by Henry W. Baker (1868)

The King of love my shepherd is,
whose goodness faileth never.
I nothing lack if I am his,
and he is mine forever.

Where streams of living water flow,
my ransomed soul he leadeth;
and where the verdant pastures grow,
with food celestial feedeth.

Perverse and foolish, oft I strayed,
but yet in love he sought me;
and on his shoulder gently laid,
and home, rejoicing, brought me.

In death’s dark vale I fear no ill,
with thee, dear Lord, beside me;
thy rod and staff my comfort still,
thy cross before to guide me.

Thou spreadst a table in my sight;
thy unction grace bestoweth;
and oh, what transport of delight
from thy pure chalice floweth!

And so through all the length of days,
thy goodness faileth never;
Good Shepherd, may I sing thy praise
within thy house forever.

Thank you for sharing this moment of your day with me, with God, and with these reflections on a portion of scripture.  I hope you will carry these with you throughout your day and night.

Grace and Peace,


Dr. Tim Bruster
Senior Pastor

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