Sunday, October 25, 2015

My Dad & Psalm 23

My Dad and Psalm 23.
While driving to church on Sunday morning I was listening to a sermon on the radio about Psalm 23, “The Shepherd’s Psalm.” My mind wandered back to November 2005 when I had flown back to Scotland from Tasmania to be beside my dad who was on his deathbed at age 83. He had his eyes closed but he seemed to be listening intently to me as I told him how much I loved him and how much I appreciated how good a dad he was to me as I was growing up. 

I mentioned to him some of my happy memories, such him taking us swimming at Dumbarton's Brock Baths in winter, Craig’s Pool at Glen Fruin as well as Loch Lomond at Balloch countless times in summer. I held his hand in mine as I spoke softly to him, knowing that these were his very last days. At that moment he was the centre of my universe as I concentrated hard on finding the right words, though the words just bubbled up from somewhere deep within and overflowed like the clear waters of Pappert Well. 
Dad had been a committed Communist. (I had asked him point blank one time may years before if he was a Communist and was shocked when he had answered unequivocally in the affirmative! To me Communism and Atheism are synonymous terms! God-less Communism is the antithesis of God-centred Calvinism.)  He had worked in the shipyards on the “Red Clydeside” and had mingled with those who wanted the workers of the world to unite! Anyway, I couldn’t understand how he had been happy to attend church on Sunday and even wax eloquent about doing the “reading “ in church and how the King James’ Version of the Bible was the most beautiful, noble and poetic of all the versions of the Bible. He was as happy pulling the rope that rang the bell  to beckon Sunday-worshippers to Jamestown Parish Church, part of the Church of Scotland.
“Dad, you know Psalm 23? The Lord is my Shepherd? Are you able to say those words – ‘the Lord is MY Shepherd’? Is He your Shepherd? Is Jesus your Shepherd? He says He’s the Good Shepherd? Are you trusting in Him even now? ‘Yea, though I walk in death’s dark vale, yet will I fear none ill, for Thou art with me; and Thy rod and staff me comfort still.’ [Revised Church Hymnal, Psalm 23]. Dad, trust Him. Trust Him even now dad. He’ll look after you even now as you go through that dark valley.”
I prayed with my dad, I prayed for him, asking that my God, our God would look after him. Did my dad actually hear me say all of this? I believe so. But more importantly, God heard! I look forward to seeing my dad (and my mum) in glory...
Thank You Lord that I was able to be with my dad just before he died.

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