Posted by: Don Linnen | 31 August 2014

A Psalm for the Living

The 23rd Psalm is the most-often-read Bible verse at funerals. It’s often the final set of words uttered before going into harm’s way.

Reverend Charlie Dunn, pastoral resident at Highland Park Presbyterian Church, reminded us today that it is a Psalm for the living.

He said that we all long for strength, security, and significance. Maybe that’s what’s on our minds while pondering the death of someone we know or when beginning a very dangerous mission.

Am I strong enough? Physically? Mentally? Emotionally?

Will I make it? Will others make it? Safely? Intact?

Will I be respected? Admired?

David Brooks recently wrote an editorial on “The Mental Virtues.” His views were based on a 2007 book by Roberts and Wood entitled “Intellectual Virtues.” The authors outlined several virtues that all of us more or less strive to attain while we are learning deeply, applying intellectual courage, and thinking well.

Brooks contends that “very often thinking well means pushing against the grain of our nature — against vanity, against laziness, against the desire for certainty, against the desire to avoid painful truths.”

Isn’t this what we do when we believe in the Lord?

Our human nature is to develop our own strength, mitigate risk, and seek the adulation of everyone we know – and a few we don’t.

Strength? I shall not want.

Security? I will fear no evil.

Significance? My cup overflows.

Pushing against the grain has some real benefits.

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