October 1, 2023
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4, NRSV).
You Are With Me
“God, you are with me.” What a powerful statement of faith that is!
The psalmist says that even though we walk through “the darkest valley,” we fear no evil, or, as the King James Version of the Bible reminds us, “the valley of the shadow of death.”
The shadow represents the uncertainty in our lives. The uncertainty of floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes — climate change. The uncertainty of aggression through war, gun violence, human trafficking and international tensions. The uncertainty of employment, inflation, illness — a global pandemic. Yes, the shadow of death is all around us.
Yet, in Christ, we can boldly proclaim, “You are with me. Your rod will protect me from uncertain foes who wish to do me harm, and your staff will guide me on the right path for your name’s sake. I fear no evil.” In so doing, you proclaim God’s presence of peace — peace amid uncertainty — in your own life.
Today, as we celebrate World Communion Sunday, Luke’s Gospel tells us on that very first Easter as Jesus was walking down the road to Emmaus, he met two disciples who were unknown to him. When they invited him to join them for a meal, Jesus took bread and blessed it. When he did, their eyes were opened, and their hearts were strangely warmed.
We hope that when we share this holy meal with Christians across the globe, our eyes will also be opened, our hearts will be strangely warmed, and we will recognize the presence of the Risen Lord among us. Then, we can boldly proclaim, “You are with me.”
Through Peace & Global Witness Offering, received on World Communion Sunday, we do our part as a community of faith by addressing systems of conflict and injustice across the world, including those arising from climate change, systematic and structural racism and human trafficking.
Peace is active, not passive. Peace is doing, not waiting. It’s about choosing action. God is always with us. Can we say the same for our siblings in Christ?
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, October 1, 2023, the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)
Today’s Focus: World Communion Sunday/Peace & Global Witness Offering
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Naomi McQuiller, YAV Volunteer, World Mission, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Jewel McRae, Coordinator, Women’s Leadership Development & Young Women’s Ministries, Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Let us pray
Holy God, turn this prayer into action, trusting you are always with us. Amen.