Read | Psalm 28
To you, Lord, I call;
you are my Rock,
do not turn a deaf ear to me.
For if you remain silent,
I will be like those who go down to the pit.
Hear my cry for mercy
as I call to you for help,
as I lift up my hands
toward your Most Holy Place.
Do not drag me away with the wicked,
with those who do evil,
who speak cordially with their neighbors
but harbor malice in their hearts.
Repay them for their deeds
and for their evil work;
repay them for what their hands have done
and bring back on them what they deserve.
Because they have no regard for the deeds of the Lord
and what his hands have done,
he will tear them down
and never build them up again.
Praise be to the Lord,
for he has heard my cry for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.
The Lord is the strength of his people,
a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
Save your people and bless your inheritance;
be their shepherd and carry them forever.
Respond | Joey Dearduff
At a particular point along their journey to destroy the One Ring (the specifics are herein left out for those who plan but have yet to read or watch the Lord of the Rings saga), Samwise Gamgee exclaims to Frodo, “I may not be able to carry [the ring], but I can carry you!” Tolkien was not particularly a fan of allegory in the stories he wrote, so he likely would never equate this scene to biblical depictions of God carrying us. Even so, it is hard to not make the poetic story of Samwise and Frodo at least somewhat comparable to the language of shepherding in this psalm. Much like Samwise, and much like the shepherd of the lone and wandering sheep, God often scoops us up, lovingly and tenderly, not only giving us our own strength to find our way but taking upon God’s own self that step in the journey. Exhausted and afraid, we lay limp in the hands of our Shepherd, who guides us back to the path from which we have wandered, back to the pastures we call home.