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  • Writer's picturePastor Maggie

Thoughts on the Good Shepherd

Updated: May 16, 2023

Sometimes I find it hard to ground myself in the present -- there is always so much to think about

and plan for and look forward to that slowing down to be aware of God's presence in all the small

miracles of life can seem frivolous. Of course I know that isn't really true. We know the sweetness of life is in the small moments that never make it to a calendar page. The shared look of "can you believe that just happened" with a friend. The conversation with a neighbor that starts out with a simple "hello" but ends up in deep and meaningful territory. The slow glow of the sky during the sunrise or sunset. Or even the moments that break all your best laid plans and cause you to throw your agenda out completely. Like holding the hand of a beloved when they're sick or afraid. Or gathering together to celebrate a life that has passed on to its next adventure.

I was thinking about this as we read our responsive Psalm together on Saturday -- "the Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want." I think sometimes we hear that and think it means that God is somehow going to make sure that we never are without basic necessities. Then we look around and see all those who are without the things they need and we wonder where God is. Where is the Shepherd who is supplying my needs? Their needs? Our needs?

Because we are needy people. We are born into the world needy. We need parental care. We need advice and the opportunity to make mistakes and grow in a safe environment. We need shelter and food and playmates. As we grow older, we become aware of just how quickly all of those things can change or disappear. Just how quickly jobs or homes or beloveds or our own health can shift or become unrecognizable. Our neediness can feel as though it will never be met, as though there will never be enough to satisfy all the things that don't fit neatly on our calendar pages.

Those things are real and difficult situations. There are forces in the world that breed inequalities, that thrive on making sure some folks lack. There really are people, our neighbors even, who are not getting the most basic of needs met. Knowing this, I think the challenge of that Psalm is in looking underneath what it seems we don't have enough of to what we know we have more than enough of.

When the world is uncertain, do we have to worry about God's love? No. When we are living in times of transition, do we have to worry that Emmanuel is somewhere far away from us? No. When we are laid entirely bare, at our very lowest, at the end of life as we know it, will we face that day without a Comforter or Advocate? No.

On our last day, real or metaphorical, when we have reached our human limit, we know we will rise again. We know we will be made anew. We know God will breathe into us and again welcome us into the embrace we have always known--the love that birthed us and will always hold us. We lack nothing.

As May begins and we start looking ahead to the summer, we are going to have many

opportunities at SCF to put things on our communal calendar. The Parish Council has begun planning fun fellowship events, service projects, community engagement opportunities, etc. and we hope to see you at as many of them as you have time for. But before we jump in the deep end, I want to invite you to take a moment and pay attention to what may seem like a small miracle. I invite you to put your hand on your heart, breathe deeply, and rest in the knowledge that you are part of a cosmos that turns on an axis of love. You are God's Beloved, the sheep of the Shepherd. You lack nothing. Alleluia! Amen!

Peace, peace, peace to you,

Pastor Maggie


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