Press Release: July 8, 2024

Psalm 23

Rev. Rich Rudowske preached on Psalm 23 in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. His words, written during a time of far-reaching fear and uncertainty, still have the power to inspire us today. 

Soon after making the heavy decision to shut down the Concordia-based office, Rev. Rudowske began a monastic prayer schedule, praying through all 150 Psalms, some multiple times, throughout a two-week period. This included waking in the middle of the night! 

Nine days into the crisis, “I sat in my office in our nearly empty building, and I cried thinking about all that had changed, all the people I missed, all the uncertainty. But I didn’t cry because I was afraid. I had peace that surpasses understanding in circumstances where it is understandable to not have peace. God’s Word through the Psalms was working through me.” 

The final Psalm in the rotation was the one he knew best: Psalm 23. 

“It rushed into me like a welcome spring of familiar words deep in meeting and content, words that I reflected on at my own father’s funeral. Words that had come up so many other times in my life. And here they were again, like the completion and welcoming back of something familiar…And the words that really stood out were from verse four. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” 

We are always walking through the ‘valley of the shadow of death’ on earth; sometimes that reality feels more vivid. “But we are always walking through it with Jesus, and where [the peace the world gives] runs out is where the peace that surpasses understanding begins.” 

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23 (ESV)

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