Tells volumes what believers need to know today

Published 7:48 pm Tuesday, November 10, 2009

To the Editor:

I was awakened one night recently in the early morning hours by the yip, yip of a lone coyote who was crossing our hay fields in the back of our log house on his way to our distant neighbor who is a keeper of our feathered friends.

I was somewhat annoyed that his chilling voice aroused me from my peaceful sleep, but I thought that awakening might be a call to action to take the opportunity to pray for our brave men and women who are on the front lines in a distant and foreign land, fighting for our right to worship, to vote, to object, to speak our mind in a country, like no other, established by godly men and women and the which, have a freedom of speech and action like no other place in the universe.

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Ask yourself, am I truly grateful? Am I doing my part to maintain such a freedom? Am I praying about that freedom every day? The Holy Bible tell us, For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cistern, that can hold no water.

I found among my treasures, a little story that my father kept in an old family Bible. It tells volumes about what believers need to know today.

The story is told of a minister in a little country church in New Hampshire who had been with them 50 years. He was old and tired but so beloved that they would not let him retire. One day one of the vestrymen brought a distinguished guest and laymen to the church and asked if this distinguished man could have a part in the morning service.

Of course he could, so it was arranged that he read the 23rd Psalm, which he did from memory, and very well.

Toward the close of the service a note was handed up to the minister. He paused to read it and then read it out loud.

The note read, I came in late. My car broke down. I missed your sermon. Will you send me away inspired by reading the 23rd Psalm?

We have already heard it, said the minister, but perhaps we can hear it again. and so he started, The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want.

He repeated the immortal lines from memory as had the distinguished layman. But there was something in his voice that the layman did not have; something of understanding and affection and peace and happiness and hope and sympathy. As he finished there were some handkerchiefs to be seen and some coughing and nose blowing to be heard.

On the way home the vestryman commented to his friend, the distinguished layman, You repeated the 23rd Psalm and did it very well, but the audience was not moved. Our minister repeated it and half the congregation was in tears. How do you explain that?

Very simply, answered the distinguished layman,I know the Psalm. Your minister knows the shepherd.

Evangeline McCabe Paglia