One of the most famous Psalms, Psalm 23 starts with
‘I lack nothing’ is also translated as, “I shall not want”. This Psalm, normally attributed to David, is an expression of the trust in God. “I shall not want” is pointing to a God who provides everything. This was the experience of Israelites on the journey from Egypt, after being freed by Pharaoh. The expression “I lack nothing” or “I shall not want” is associated with two aspects of their life.
- The Past: A remembering of Exodus journey gives them enough signs of God providing everything. Gratitude runs through them.
- The Future: Hope is the prevailing feeling.
Jesus attributes the title of “Good Shepherd” to himself. His life, death and resurrection help us to look at the past with gratitude. His promises (I will be with you till the end of time) and the acts of Spirit in the world are the surest signs of Hope.
A sure question at some of the minds will be…. Things are not as simple as it is said. Beyond gratitude and hope, there are many more sentiments. There are innumerable negative experiences for many of us; some are even horrific. Where is that shepherding God? A hymn from St Therese of Avila can be helpful.
God acts through human-beings and the creation. Each one of us are shepherds of others in different degrees. A good evaluative criterion to analyse that “shepherding relationship with the other” is to see, whether
the remembering of that relationship evokes gratitude and gives a certain hope for the future.