How to Meditate on Psalm 23 and Have Fun At the Same Time

As part of the last Fraser Valley Christian Writers event, Mel Sawatzky came to the mike to read his Psalm 23 in El. At first I thought he might have invented a new language–like the Klingon language of Star Trek or the Elven language of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth. But what Mel had done instead was to write his own paraphrase of Psalm 23 using the letter L.

He leads me beside still waters. - Psalm 23:2

He leads me beside still waters. – Psalm 23:2

It sounded like a fun exercise, so I tried it myself with my own version of Psalm 23 in the Letter G. Here is mine below, followed by Mel’s original. I hope our experimenting inspires you to some wordplay of your own as a way of meditating on the depth of meaning of this psalm. Choose your own letter to play with and have fun! (and p.s. if you need some help, you might want to use a crossword solver as I did for a source of g words.)

Psalm 23 in the Letter G

The Lord is my Guardian,
he gives and I am grateful.
He grants me gentle rest in green grasslands;
he energizes me by great geysers of grace;
he gives good growth.
He guides me in generous paths of goodness
for his name’s sake.

Even though I grumble
and groan at the gloom of death,
I grasp your hand for you are with me.
You guard and ground and grow me.

You gather me in for the grand gala,
while others might glance and glare;
I glow in gleaming garments and golden garland;
my goblet overflows.
Surely goodness and grace shall be God’s gifts
that keep on giving and giving,
and I will glorify God
in the galaxy of gladness forever.

 

Psalm 23 in L

The Lord is my leader, I lack nothing.
He lulls me to lie down in a lush land
and leads me a-long side lovely lakes where I can linger in leisure.

He liberates my languishing soul
by leading me down His lane that’s laudable,
even though I limp through the lowlands of lingering lament.
I am Li-on- heart-ed for there is no lack of strength.

I will fearlessly leap in hope because You are loyal to me.
Your rod and ledge are a lasting support.
I now lay on Your lap and learn of Your love.

You prepare a lavish lunch before me in the light of mine enemies,
lathering my head with lotion;
Your ladle is loaded with liquid
that lifts my spirits to lofty levels.

Surely Your large heart and loving kindness will linger with me
all the length of my life.
I will lodge with my Lord for limitless years.

– by Mel Sawatzky, with thanks for his inspiration and permission

 

Writing Prompt: Try your own version of this psalm, using the letter M and starting with the line “My Master is my Mentor.” Or choose a letter and opening line of your own. If you send me your creation, I’ll gladly include it in a follow-up article. If you’re a blogger, post it on your own site and leave a link in the comments below. Have fun, and may God work Psalm 23 more deeply into your soul.

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Categories: Spiritual Practice

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9 replies

  1. I loved this exercise. It adds to the impact of the original.

  2. Hi April – thanks for this! I am currently using your book “Spark” to lead a 5 week adult study class. I spend a little less than half the class on the Bible study, and then have time for a creative project (collage, pottery, water colour, up-cycling) that picks up the them in response. In a couple of weeks I wanted to do creative writing (together with chapter 4. This will be a great prompt for that morning!

    • Hi Wendy, I’m glad to know that you’re using Spark, and yes, this would be a great prompt for that morning. I’d love to see what your group comes up with! In response to feedback to this post and from my earlier reader survey, I’m now planning to add writing prompts to the end of each post, so please stay tuned for more!

  3. Loved it! Thanks, April. I’ll highlight your post on the Christian Poets & Writers blog http://www.christianpoetsandwriters.com. God bless.

  4. Excellent exercise! This is yet another example to me of the endless God-inspired creativity existing in us human beings. @chaplaineliza

    • I love your description of our “endless God-inspired creativity,” and I see that all around me in so many ways, including in your sermon writing, praying, and blogging. Thank you for sharing your God-inspired creativity!

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