my dwelling place

The psalm from today’s Mass is perhaps the best known of all of the 150 psalms. It is a text known by name, number and popular melody: The Lord’s My Shepherd, Psalm 23, often sung to the melody Crimond.

Chances are the moment you hear the words of the psalm a melody comes to mind and you find yourself singing this 2500-year-old prayer.

Set to one of its many popular melodies, this twenty-third psalm is a regular classic at funerals, partly because people of all faiths and of none can easily join in, but also because grieving people know their need to be gently carried through the “valley of darkness and death” to ‘God’s dwelling place forevermore’.

But more often the words of this prayer give me direction and hope in the midst of daily demands. When I pray with this psalm I can see that it is not about death at all, but about life both now and eternally.

That’s the kind of good news that I need every day.

An Invitation

  • You’ll probably be surprised by how well you know the words of this psalm because you have sung it so often. Take a moment now to recall even a part of the melody and see what words come to mind.  I have copied the popular hymn lyrics below to jog your memory, or you might prefer the psalter Grail translation at this link.
  • Perhaps two or three words from the psalm come to mind for a reason…perhaps Jesus might be inviting you to stay with a phrase as a mantra for the day. 
  • If you want to listen on the way to work here are a few musical settings of the psalm:  Crimond,  Brother James’ Air,  Anglican Chant   &  The King of Love.

The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want;
He makes me down to lie
In pastures green; he leadeth me
The quiet waters by.

My soul he doth restore again,
And me to walk doth make
Within the paths of righteousness,
E’en for his own name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through death’s dark vale,
Yet will I fear no ill;
For thou art with me; and thy rod
And staff me comfort still.

My table thou hast furnishèd
In presence of my foes;
My head thou dost with oil anoint,
And my cup overflows.

Goodness and mercy all my life
Shall surely follow me;
And in God’s house forever more
My dwelling place shall be.

13 Responses to "my dwelling place"
    • Thank you for these Advent emails. I didn’t get around to signing up when I saw the first email although I wanted to. Very grateful to have them start arriving like last year.

  1. There is something in this psalm for everyone.. I lean on the words, “Your rod and your staff comfort me. ” The psalmist knew that correction by the shepherd was not about punishment, but comfort.

  2. A blessing given to me today as I approach surgery tomorrow! I a so looking forward to the pastures green and quiet waters, as my body heals. God is GREAT!

  3. My head thou dost with oil anoint and my cup overflows.
    My cup overflows with gratitude and filled with peaceful Presence – nourishing the inner soul.

  4. Hi to Jane who is having surgery tomorrow, thinking of you. I light a candle on my kitchen table and draws me to God and helps me to pray, maybe an Our Father or Hail Mary.

  5. My dear brother-in-law went to God yesterday so the words that really spoke to me were, “And in God’s house forever more, my dwelling place shall be.” Rest and dwell peacefully dear Gerard.

  6. How wonderful it will be when we are dwelling in the Lords House, we can be exactly who He created us to be
    To be able to pour out our true selves and receive the total acceptance and love as we are in our deepest being
    Oh such joy

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