Tuesday 2 November 2021 – Daily Prayer

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All souls

Wisdom 3: 1-9, 23-27 (old). The lord is my shepherd; I will not want anything – Psalm 22 (23). Romans 5: 5-11. Mark 15: 33-39; 16: 1-6.

The lord is my shepherd

For centuries, Psalm 23 has been synonymous with times of great hope and times of great despair. When the soldiers spontaneously stopped fighting on Christmas Day 1914 and thus prematurely ended the slaughter on the largest battlefield in the world, some sang Psalm 23: The Lord is my Shepherd. Soldiers greeted their enemies, played football, exchanged gifts, sang, and held services in French, German, and English. The next day, soldiers on both sides stubbornly refused to kill their new friends. This worried the top people who opposed the armistice; no nation would prevail if all soldiers refused to fight. The press was censored to cover it, and the peaceful soldiers were punished and moved on, exchanged for fresh, young warriors who saw the enemy just like that. Years later the war continued to thunder. During the Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest days of conflict in human history, soldiers walking through the valley of the shadows of death read Psalm 23: The Lord is my Shepherd. Today our conflicts are less bloody, drawn along ideological, religious and economic lines, but like the psalmist, our hopes and fears remain. Whether our days are marked by great hope or great despair, may we see the dignity of those in the opposing trenches and fear no evil. The Lord is our Shepherd.

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