Psalms recited at funerals help comfort the living. This Memorial Day weekend, I’m starting a series on psalms for funerals, starting with probably the most popular psalm, the 23rd.
Both Jewish and Christian funerals utilize the 23rd Psalm. It affirms that though we face trials in life, with God’s support we move through the dark times and can achieve wholeness and fulfillment.
Newer translations of this psalm have appeared in the last few decades. The version that follows is the traditional King James translation that includes the somewhat awkward “est” endings to verbs. If you prefer to use gender neutral names, you can replace “The Lord” and “He” with “God,” “The Divine,” or the Hebrew name “Adonai.”
A psalm of David:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul.
He guides me in straight paths for His Name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil
For Thou art with me.
Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.
Thou annointest my head with oil,
My cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
And I shall dwell in the House of the Lord forever.