In Right Paths

Selah - Life in a Minor Key

Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year A

Of all the songs in the hymn book of the people of God, the 23rd Psalm is probably the most beloved. It is almost impossible to read these six verses without hearing a favorite version sung.

Selah: Life in a Minor Key - In Right Paths

Psalm 23

Fellowship – Snacks or a Meal (10 minutes with snacks; longer, obviously, if there is a meal)

Gathering Time (5-10 minutes). In pairs or groups of three, have each participant finish the following sentences: “When I am around this person ___________, I receive comfort.” “When I am at ____(location)____, I receive comfort.”

Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes)

Read: Psalm 23

  • Which of the following images from Psalm 23 are most comforting and why? (makes me lie down in green pastures; leads me beside still waters; restores my soul; leads me in right paths for his name’s sake?)
  • As a group, work to come up with opposite images for verses 1-3 (for example: “I take paths of self-destruction, or I often lie down in self-pity”)
  • How are the shepherd’s (God’s) rod and staff comforting? [The staff or crook would keep the sheep on the path; the rod was used to ward off scavengers.]
  • How is eating at a table of abundance in the presence of enemies an image of security?
  • In verse six, we read about God’s goodness and mercy following us. A more literal translation might note that we are being pursued by God’s goodness and mercy. How is it comforting that God will pursue us even when we have gone off the path or when we are in danger?
  • Having explored the rest of the psalm, what do you think the opening line, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” is referring to? [We learn to want the things the Shepherd would want for us – security, abundance, comfort in who God is guiding us to be.]
  • Read or sing the spiritual below and then answer the following: Name a time when you felt God (or someone else) was helping you along your journey (or running the race with you). If appropriate, end your group’s time by singing the spiritual one last time.

Suggested Spiritual
Guide My Feet

Guide my feet while I run this race; (yes, my Lord!)
guide my feet while I run this race; (yes, my Lord!)
guide my feet while I run this race,
for I don't want to run this race in vain! (race in vain!)

Hold my hand while I run this race; (yes, my Lord!)
hold my hand while I run this race; (yes, my Lord!)
hold my hand while I run this race,
for I don't want to run this race in vain! (race in vain!)

Stand by me while I run this race; (yes, my Lord!)
stand by me while I run this race; (yes, my Lord!)
stand by me while I run this race,
for I don't want to run this race in vain! (race in vain!)

I'm your child while I run this race; (yes, my Lord!)
I'm your child while I run this race; (yes, my Lord!)
I'm your child while I run this race,
for I don't want to run this race in vain! (race in vain!)

Search my heart while I run this race; (yes, my Lord!)
search my heart while I run this race; (yes, my Lord!)
search my heart while I run this race,
for I don't want to run this race in vain! (race in vain!)

Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.

Sending Forth (2 minutes). End by praying the following together:

God of comfort, peace, and security: We know that trusting you for protection will not guard us from every danger. But we can rest assured that no power on heaven or earth can separate us from the presence of your love. Guide our feet, hold our hand, search our heart while we run this race, so that our running would glorify you. Amen.

In This Series...


Ash Wednesday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes First Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Second Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Third Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes

Colors


  • Purple

In This Series...


Ash Wednesday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes First Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Second Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Third Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes