“Honor your father and mother” (which is the first commandment with a promise) “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
I didn’t get to be at Newsong for the kickoff of Decades Speak – I was living it.
Last weekend, my wife and I drove up to Sacramento to help my parents move into their new house. Change is not the norm for them – they’ve lived in the same house for almost forty years, been married to the same person for almost fifty, and my dad’s been rocking the same hairstyle for almost seventy (The Sidepart: never out of style). All that to say, for them to pack up everything and set out on a new adventure was definitely a milestone event.
After it was all over, my dad left to return the U-Haul, and I had a moment alone at the new place. It felt like a divine appointment – I decided to take some time to pray for their house. At first I was just walking around, blessing each room, but then I had something specific on my heart: “pray Psalm 23.”
I looked it up on my phone, then started at their back patio:
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
I read this, looking up their tree-lined street, and over the garden where they put a plant hanger we joke looks like a shepherd’s crook.
He leads me beside the still water.
He refreshes my soul.
Right then, I looked at the artwork in their living room of people walking along a waterfront – I thought about how none of us had ever noticed that painting before today.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…
I closed my eyes at this part – the turning point in the psalm. Where he switches from talking about the Lord, to talking TO Him.
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff they comfort me.
Right next to the fireplace, I saw my grandma’s walking stick leaning against the wall.
You prepare a table for me, in the presence of my enemies.
There’s the dining room table, ready for a meal.
You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.
There’s the kitchen, where those blessings are poured out.
Finally, I ended my walk through their house heading toward the front door, ready to leave. Suddenly, I understood the end of the psalm in a new way:
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
That last line caught me by surprise – whenever I think of Psalm 23, I always think of it as a walk through nature. I actually forgot it ends in a house! How perfect that God brought this passage to mind – a poetic reminder of His desire for all of us: He wants to walk us home.
I’ll never forget sitting down with my mom and dad, telling them about this prayer for their house, all of us getting choked up as we celebrated God’s faithfulness to our family.
And that’s why we’re doing Decades Speak. I’m not saying you have to go have a spiritual moment at your childhood home (although it can be a life-changing experience). But our prayer is, if we can stop running around doing our own thing, and LISTEN, we might be able to hear God speaking a timeless word through the generations.
Dave Brubaker is Newsong’s Communications Pastor and movie lover.