Sunday, March 30, 2014
Know the Shepherd
There's a true story I love about a house party in one of the big English country houses. Often after dinner at these parties people give recitations, sing, and use whatever talent they have to entertain the company. One year a famous actor was among the guests. I've been told he might have been Charles Laughton. When it came his turn to perform, he recited the Twenty-third Psalm, perhaps the most beloved psalm in the Psalter. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. His rendition was magnificent, and there was much applause. At the end of the evening someone noticed a little old great aunt dozing in the corner. She was deaf as a post and had missed most of what was going on, but she was urged to get up and recite something. In those days people used to memorize a lot of poetry! So she stood up, and in her quavery old voice she started, The Lord is my shepherd, and went on to the end of the psalm. When she had finished there were tears in many eyes. Later one of the guests approached the famous actor. "You recited that psalm absolutely superbly. It was incomparable. So why were we so moved by that funny, little old lady?" He replied, "I know the psalm. She knows the shepherd."
Madeleine L'Engle, Glimpses of Grace: Daily Thoughts and Reflections Madeleine L'Engle (d. 2007) was a poet and novelist who wrote many books for children, including A Wrinkle in Time. She also wrote extensively on Christian faith and for more than thirty years was the librarian at the New York Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine.