Today's offering is a musical meditation on the Divine Feminine in the 23rd Psalm by Bobby McFerrin.
The first time I heard this performed was 10 or 12 years ago at Princeton Chapel where I had the great honor and privilege of preaching. The choir director had called me the week before to ask if I might be planning to refer to God, at any point in my sermon, with a feminine pronoun.
I thought that was a curious question so I asked him the reason for his question. "These kids are so conservative - in every way - they are really having a hard time with this piece. I just thought it would help if they heard someone else speaking of God in terms other than "He" and "Lord"."
I remember saying something to him about, "Well, after centuries of following the voice of an all-male priesthood, it's going to take more than just this one female voice, but I'm happy to be one part of the process."
Years ago, I listened to an interview with McFerrin, who, as a matter of fact, was brought up Anglican. At one point in his life, he was seriously discerning the path he would take for the rest of his life.
He felt a strong call to the Episcopal priesthood, but he felt an equally strong vocation as a musician.
He was asked, many years later, how he felt about his decision to pursue a career in music vs. the path of ordination in The Episcopal Church.
As I recall, he said something like, "Looking at the past through the lens of fame and fortune never provides an accurate picture."
So, I won't speculate about how The Episcopal Church might have been changed by McFerrin's ordination, but I can only imagine that the voice McFerrin followed was the one he needed to hear.
Our loss. The world's gain. To wit - this marvelous piece.
The Lord is my Shepard, I have all I need,
She makes me lie down in green meadows,
Beside the still waters, She will lead.
She restores my soul, She rights my wrongs,
She leads me in a path of good things,
And fills my heart with songs.
Even though I walk, through a dark and dreary land,
There is nothing that can shake me,
She has said She won't forsake me,
I'm in her hand.
She sets a table before me, in the presence of my foes,
She anoints my head with oil,
And my cup overflows.
Surely, surely goodness and kindness will follow me,
All the days of my life,
And I will live in her house,
Forever, forever and ever.
Glory be to our Mother, and Daughter,
And to the Holy of Holies,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
World, without end. Amen