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St Matthews Church Oxhey Hertfordshire

Fr David's Sermon

20th July 2003

Fr David Shepherd

Trinity 5

What lies at the heart of the typical English Christian insofar as such a person can be identified? No doubt there will be favourite hymns with the memories they invoke and carry. A few well known Bible stories will be there too. At the very core will be two or three very familiar texts, including the Lord's Prayer and the Twenty Third Psalm.

In its desire to be the Church of all the people, the Church of England has aimed to give the many a minimal amount of teaching rather than a great deal to the few. Arguably that is both strength and a weakness and also a reminder of the essential simplicity of the faith.

The priest who finds himself called to the dying does well to read the Lord's Prayer and Psalm 23 because at a very deep level those two classic expressions of faith have the power to put us in touch with God.

It is sad that the psalms have become less used in contemporary worship because they are such wonderful vehicles of prayer, enabling us to express the full range of human feeling from praise and joy through to deep sorrow and despair. They are still there in our Prayer Books ready to read daily through out each month.

Our readings today include the 23rd Psalm. So let us have a closer look at it.