This Week at JMPC 11.10.19

If someone were to ask you what the most well-known passage in the Bible is, I would venture that most, if not all, would say the 23rd Psalm. It is a passage that is well known even to those who might surprise you. Verse 4 of Psalm 23 opens rapper Coolio’s hit song, “Gangsta’s Paradise” and is heard in Kanye West’s song “Jesus Walks”, both using it to describe urban violence as the valley of death they walk through. The entire Psalm opens Clint Eastwood’s movie “Pale Rider” as a prayer from a young girl whose dog has been killed by local thugs to … well … demand God do what the Psalm seems to promise. (It works, because Clint Eastwood shows up immediately and uses his rod and staff to bring a little mayhem down on the evil people in the town.) It is also in a scene from the 1953 movie “War of the Worlds” when the local pastor walks toward the attacking Martians with Bible raised while reciting the Psalm. (It did not work so well for him because he gets incinerated by the Martian death ray.) It was used in an old Gunsmoke episode where a dying man asked a criminal disguised as a preacher for “the 23rd” to comfort him as he lay dying. (Doc had to tell the criminal what to read and where to find it, but when he read it, the dying man was comforted.).
 
Psalm 23 is also the most commonly requested scripture reading for funerals. I think that is true mainly because it is the one scripture passage everyone knows. Everyone knows it because it has been heard so often. But familiarity can prevent us from understanding what Psalm 23 is about. Why does Psalm 23 have such power? Come and hear about it this Sunday, November 10, 2019, at 8:30 and 11 when Pastor Jeff preaches, “An Attitude of Gratitude” based on Psalm 23. Come and be comforted and give thanks. We will look forward to seeing you.

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