Over fifty percent of the world’s population lives closer than 3 kilometers (you are going to have to look that one up and discover something on your own) from a freshwater body, which can be a lake, a stream, or a river. Only ten percent of the population lives further than 10 kilometers away.

Now, it is true that pollution and global warming have had an impact, but it is abundantly clear that we humans need fresh water. As I write this, I have a glass of cool fresh water next to my i-Pad, and I debated drinking “fizzy water” as my grandson would call the collection of sparkling water that is in my refrigerator.

I love the image I captured of the entrance to the Buffalo River where it merges into Lake Erie. A lighthouse, a sailboat, and people. The water wasn’t quite still, but that day as I walked a path my parents often enjoyed, I felt peace.

This summer I gave an assignment to the church family to read the Twenty Third Psalm once a week, every week for life. I am not sure how many of you, if any, have added to your life’s weekly schedule the reading of these 118 words (King James translation) as a faith commitment. I hope some of you have and that you have been blessed by God in doing so.

This Psalm is meant for those of us who are living, and it offers us one of God’s many gifts for us, the restoration of our souls amidst our hectic lives that must deal with the world, at least our small corner of the world, daily. Don’t you want, or perhaps don’t you need your soul to be restored?

Imagine if all our souls were restored weekly what that would mean to the missions, projects, and worship experiences here at St. Paul’s. WOW … I started thinking of the possibilities if we were known as Gloucester County’s source of discovery for the restoration of souls.

The Free Bible Version translation begins this way, “Since the Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need. He gives me rest in green fields. He leads me towards quietly flowing streams. He revives me.”

So friends, are you ready to allow the Lord God … God’s Holy Spirit … to be your life guide? Are you willing to actually take advantage of the rest in green fields … to find your water source and to be revived?

At least one a month throughout the year I try to go to Longwood Gardens to work. I work in one of the treehouses using my i-Pad and Wi-Fi. Right by the Italian fountains so I can hear the water spray and look out on the pond in front of my workplace. I feel so at peace there, even though I am working … I can sense God there knowing how much I need God. It works for me.

But as we move through the autumn months towards Advent and Christmas together, we need to consider who we are and how together we can make St. Paul’s more vital, serving more children and young families, and taking on new missions for God. I think we need to experience the restoration of our souls, so again I ask that once a week you read the Twenty Third Psalm and if possible read it in a different Bible translation each time. The Bible app on our phones and tablets offers many different English translations for free.

Together, I am confident that as the Psalm says (from the Free Bible Version translation), “The Lord will guide us as a church family along the right paths because that’s the kind of person he is.”

© 2017- St. Paul's United Methodist Church, West Deptford, NJ