Selective Memory

More and more, I’m realizing that the things I remember and the things I forget aren’t just coincidences.

A few weeks ago, Psalm 23 was one of the readings assigned by the Revised Common Lectionary–the schedule of Old Testament, Psalm, New Testament, and Gospel readings that most all Lutheran, Anglican, and Roman Catholic churches use to plan their Sunday services.  The 23rd psalm was one of the first bits of Scripture I memorized; it’s long-since become so familiar to me as to sometimes feel calloused–overused.  I no longer turn to it for comfort or for inspiration, I’ve let it grow cold and unfamiliar in my mind and heart the last decade.

Saying it with a hospital patient this week, I stumbled in the middle, suddenly unable to recall the next verse; I skipped on to the next bit I could recall, and we finished strong, but I wondered what the little phrase was that I’d forgotten.  I looked it up.

It was verse 3: “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” (KJV)

More than believing that I’m not alone in the valley of the shadow of death, or that goodness and mercy shall follow me, I wonder that God binds up and brings back our souls to health.  God promises to restore our souls, to upright the fallen, spilled, perhaps broken, vase of our lives, and to put it back where it belongs (we may not even know or remember where it belongs, exactly, but I suspect that if we ever get there–“restored”–we’ll know).

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