Psalm 23 – Nine paraphrases

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Psalm 23 – Tug of desire

Love, you shepherd me.
           You free me from the tug of desire.
You rest with me in green pastures;
            you lead me beside clear waters.
You make of my soul a spring.
You lead me on the path of my heart,
            the path to your heart.
Even though I walk through the narrows,
            through death and all its shadows,
I do not live by fear;
            for you are with me.
I count on your shepherd’s crook;
            I trust you to master me.
You draw me to your table
            where everything is a gift,
my life a feast,
            my enemies companions.
With healing balm you honor me
            as a royal guest.
You give me a cup
            welling up, flowing out.
You surround me with gentleness and blessing,
            always and always.
In this infinite present moment,
            inside which I live my whole life,
you hold me in your presence,
            in the house where you live.

Psalm 23 — You rest me

Gentle Shepherd,
            you have freed me from my desires.
            All that I need is at hand.
You rest me.
            In the green pasture of your grace I lie down.
            I surrender all.
You lead me beside clear, deep waters.
            You are my dawn, my spring, my birth.
You are my path.
            I follow you, and the way is good.
            You walk before me, and within me.
Even when the way is dark and impassable—
            the canyons of death—
your Presence is my path,
            and a way through,
            and I am not afraid.
You make of this life a feast for me,
            and everything a gift,
            and even my enemies companions.
You have marked me with your joy;
            I cannot contain your blessing.
            What I receive and what I give are beyond me.
You’ve given me to goodness;
            you’ve married me to mercy for the rest of my life.
Each moment is my own house;
            and you are my dwelling, my home,

Psalm 23 – Companion of my soul

Companion of my soul,
      you shepherd me.
            I am free from clinging desires.

In the green pasture of your presence
      I lie down like a baby
            I entrust myself wholly to your arms.

You lead me to clear springs;
      you uncover springs within me;
            you make me a flowing spring.

You water my dry weariness and green comes forth.
      I am dead and you bring me to life.
            You create me, moment by moment.

You lead me in the way toward you;
      you go with me, close.
            You are my way.

Even when I walk through the darkest alley
      you are closer to me than my fear.
            I feel your hand on my back.

You invite me to sit with you at your table,
      with those whom I fear, and those I despise,
            and all of my favorite foods.

You rain down your blessing on me like a shower.
      My plate is full of blessing.
            My cup is full to spilling with blessing.

You are my hidden companion;
      goodness and mercy are my shadows;
            you are my house, my breath, my life.

Psalm 23 — shepherd me

Shepherd me, Beloved.
You provide all I need. A gift.
You give me belonging in this abundant Creation.
You set me free and hold me safe; I can relax.
You breathe life into me. I receive you.
           Your grace … I receive.
Move me in a path with heart.
I’ll follow you.
Even through fear and danger,
even through death and my fear of it
I’ll follow you, right with you,
your hand on my back,
your peace in my gut.
           Your love … I follow.

Give me peace with those who trouble me;
for we feast at your table together,
my enemies and I, your beloved.
           All of us … your beloved.

Your blessing fills me up;
your grace overflows from me.
Your gentle, loving mercy surrounds me
like this air, holds me like this earth.
I am in you.
           Forever … in you.

Psalm 23 — On every road

Shepherd me, Love.
            Lead me out from my attachments.

Lead me to the green meadow of your heart,
            the calm, clear stream of your peace and nourishment.

Fill me with your breath again,
            breath of your Spirit.

Lead me in your way,
            not mine,

even through darkest canyons
            shadowed by death,

for your presence is my safety,
            your will my comfort.

You invite me to your table with my enemies
            to share with them your grace:

gift that overflows,
            blessing that makes life beautiful.

Lead me where goodness and mercy go;
            then on every road
            I will still be at home in you.

Psalm 23 — Help me follow

Shepherd me, God;
            help me follow.

All I need is given;
            help me trust, receive and be grateful.

You lead me to rest and restoration;
            give me faith to drink deeply, to lie down.

You lead me on a path with heart;
            help me follow, for your sake.

Even through the darkest valley
            give me courage to trust and follow.

You are with me, your presence comforting
            in all my difficulties. Help me trust

You prepare a feast for me despite my fears.
             You invite me to be at peace with my enemies.

You shower me with blessing;
            bathe me in gratitude.

Your goodness and mercy stick to me;
            help me trust I am in you always. Always.

Psalm 23 — My mommy

God is my mommy.
            She’s all I need.

She gives me a soft place for naps;
            she takes me to safe places.
When I’m upset she holds me
            ’till I become myself again.
She leads me by the hand.
            Quite the pair, my mommy and I!

When I am scared to death
            you are right there. No worry.
Your strong hand and firm voice save me.

You set the table for me and
            for the siblings I’ve been fighting with.
You wash me up with that gleam in your eye.
            My plate is full.

Your motherly love stays with me every day.
            I will be your beloved kid forever.

Psalm 23 — Breath within my breath

Beloved, you shepherd me gently.
            You free me from desires.
You bid me lie down in green pastures.
            You offer me calmness beside the waters.
You revive the breath within my breath.
            You guide me in the paths of harmony
            for the sake of your delight.

O, though I walk through deepest canyons
            shadowed by death
I fear no evil
            for you are with me.
Your shepherd’s staff, your steady hand,
            they comfort me.

In the face of what I fear
            you provide a feast for me.
Your blessing is a long, warm shower.
            My plate is full.
Surely goodness and mercy will companion me
            all my days,
and I will dwell in your intimate presence
            every moment of my life.

Psalm 23 — With every breath

Love, you shepherd me;
            generously, you place my life in my hands.

You rest me in the meadow of your presence,
            I drink from the gentle brook of your peace.

You are my next breath, and the next.
            You are my path, my steps.

The way to life leads through death;
              you go there, and I willingly follow you,

your presence beside me,
              your wisdom before me.

Despite my fears and doubts this life is a feast.
            You embrace me with such love,
            feed me with such delight.

Your goodness and mercy shadow me;
            and with every breath
            I am returned again and again to you.

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