Psalm 23 for the 21st century


The Supportive Communities Network (SCN) is growing! I’m proud that Rainbow was among the few congregations at the far left of the graph who joined SCN in the 90s.

This past weekend I was honored to attend the 40th Anniversary celebration of the Brethren Mennonite Council for Lesbian, Bay, Bisexual and Transgender Interests, also known as BMC. Rainbow has been connected with BMC since 1990.

During BMC’s Sunday morning worship, preacher Regina Shands-Stoltzfus offered some Psalm 23 reflections. She shared how so many of the psalms give voice to our experiences of orientation and disorientation, abundance and scarcity, hope and pain, justice and injustice. “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,” Regina repeated, “though I walk through the valley of the shadow, though I walk through the valley, though I walk through, though I walk….I walk…..I….walk.”

We continue to walk through and in shadows, we continue to face enemies and oppressive forces, and while we don’t always arrive, we search nonetheless for those rainbow-colored pastures, overflowing cups, still waters, and fabulously-set tables, trusting or at least hoping that we are not alone in this search.


In preparation for BMC’s celebratory weekend, my good friend and Mennonite colleague Joanna Harader and I collaborated to write our own BMC-style Psalm 23 (see below). To say we collaborated might be a stretch; I was more the cheerleader for the fabulous, unicorn-chasing Joanna.

The Holy One is our shepherd, we have enough:

enough love and longing

enough community and compassion

enough sacred and sassy

enough fierceness and fabulousness

They make us lie down in green pastures and lead us beside still waters and restore our souls:

at BMC gatherings

at Connecting Families

at Pink Menno rooms

at this place, right here, right now.

You lead and accompany [us] / into the path of justice and solidarity, / and [we] find integrity in your way.[1]

the way of speaking out and listening well

the way of deep love and deep pain

the way of celebration and protest

the way of dancing and wall-demolition

Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death

where we are talked about, but not to

where our giftedness is not received

where our relationships are not honored

where we are labeled and cast aside

We will fear no evil, for you are with us; your rod and your staff, they comfort us.

We lean on your Word that speaks love and justice

We lean on your people, who speak acceptance and life

We lean on your church where it is open, affirming, and welcoming of our whole selves

We lean on your Spirit of praise, protection, and protest

You prepare a table before us

this table made from fallen walls

this table covered with all the colors of the rainbow

this table of fountains and fruits and abundance

this table where we are welcome

In the presence of our enemies . . .

people and principalities

polities, procedures, and processes

“dialog” and “discernment”

resolutions and yet another task force

You anoint our heads with oil

the oil of blessing

for lives that are holy and whole, sacred and fabulous

the oil of commissioning

that we might go forth in our fierceness to tear down walls and set spectacular tables

Our cups overflow

our joy overflows

our hearts overflow

our queer and queer-loving selves overflow

with the abundance you pour out

Surely rainbows and unicorns will follow us all the days of our lives

and we will dwell in the fabulous house of the Divine forever.

[1]    From Murphy Davis

Here are some more reflections and photos from BMC’s 40th anniversary weekend:

“Walls to Tables”: A BMC Gathering

Last but not least,  we at Rainbow have been busy writing and publishing our own Psalm 23 adaptations. Copies of these Psalm 23 magazines are now available for a $10 donation.

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1 Response to Psalm 23 for the 21st century

  1. pip1943 says:

    Unicorns and Rainbows!

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