Ironicschmoozer’s Weblog

The Religious Humanist’s 23rd Psalm

by the Rev. Charles Donald Saleska
(April 10, 1935 – February 7, 1991).  This translation of the 23rd Psalm of the Hebrew Scriptures (famously known from the King James Version) was written when Rev. Saleska was suffering from cancer, which took him two decades ago–he died at an early age, after he retired early from his ministry in Iowa.  His widow, the Rev. Charlotte Justice Saleska, became a minister and I met her when I was at Meadville Lombard Theological School.  She passed away not long ago with dementia.  Their son, the Rev. Kent Hemmen Saleska, is a friend of mine and serves the Minnetonka UU congregation outside Minneapolis.  He passed this along to colleagues recently.

The Religious Humanist’s 23rd Psalm
Life itself is my guide
I shall not be denied its sustaining power.
The green earth provides me with lavish nourishment;
Cool still pools of water refresh my spirit.
A deep intuition leads me along a path that is true
for the sake of existence itself.

Even though I walk through a valley where dark shadows
prevent me from knowing where life
finally leads in death,
ultimately I will not fear,
For the energy of the universe is within me.

The tools by which I am kept from wandering
off into despair,
They are a comfort to me.

Even in the face of threats to my well-being
and my very life,
The spirit of life nourishes me,
honors me with its presence,
and reminds me that I really
have more than I need.

Surely goodness and kindness
radiate upon me constantly,
and I shall dwell within this universe
with its transforming processes, forever.


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