Thursday, March 12, 2015

The LORD is my Gardener

My co-worker, Mrs. Coetsee, recently led her students through a study of the Psalms. This study came at a poignant time in our SJCS history as we were losing our beloved Jack Veenstra. The LORD was Jack's Shepherd. Psalm 23 fueled the students' prayers for Jack and his family, and brought comfort to many of us in our grief.

God speaks to us through the Bible. Even though the Psalms are man's prayers to God, God still speaks His truth to us through the text. The Psalms give words to emotions such as anger, despair, sadness, and joy. The Psalms teach us to pray. Through the Psalms we practice praise, honesty before God, and intimate relationship with Him.

On Monday at faculty devotions, Mrs. Coetsee read the comforting words of David's 23rd psalm. She then shared student work from her Psalms unit. We read some of the personalized versions of Psalm 23 from a middle school point of view. If I were to write a "Psalm 23 Prayer", it might read something like this:

The LORD is my gardener.
I can trust Him to tend the gardens of my heart and soul.
When I am well nourished in His Presence and His Word, I flourish
With green leaves,
Beautiful flowers,
Abundant fruit,
And radiant colors.

When the soil of my heart hardens and dries up,
There is no room for me to hear the still small voice of His Spirit. 
Bitterness, faithless fears, lack of forgiveness, self-will and criticism
Crowd out the abundance
God prepares for me.
When weeds threat to take over,
His Spirit walks with me in the garden as I
Surrender once again to the more beautiful design God has for me.

Cultivate my heart in such a way that
Compassion, kindness, and courage grow abundantly.
Plant seeds of hope, faith, peace and joy.
Water my soul with Your Presence, Your Truth, and Your Love.

I choose to put my life in Your hands, for it is then that I truly live.
Take my fears, my hurts, my questions, and my failures.
Take my joys, my dreams, and my gifting.

Creator God, resurrect my broken heart
Into a colorful bouquet of
Truth-filled thoughts, grace-filled words and fragrant deeds.
May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done,

On earth as it is in heaven.

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