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Beyond our fears...

Shepherd me O God, beyond my wants, beyond my fears, from death into life

- Marty Haugen in the hymn Shepherd Me O God.

It’s Tuesday morning and I get a text message of a suicide- a young woman a year younger than my twenty-one year old Sophie who went to her high school and her youth group. My friend was asking about our Soul Shop suicide workshops and if that might be something they could offer at their church.

Later in the evening I get a text message asking for comfort and consolation in the deep darkness of another school shooting just 20 miles from the church. Asked why does God allow this to happen I have no answers that will ever satisfy. Sorrow, grief, and a deep sadness wash over me. I go to sleep restless and wondering what are we to do?

Even as I trust deeply the God who loves us and knows us ever so dearly, I feel at a loss for the next steps to take to put prayer into action. These are issues for us to address not only in our prayers but also in our actions. Preparing for this Sunday’s sermon, I read John 10.

The Good Shepherd. We the sheep need a Good Shepherd. How will I listen to the One is leading and can call us beyond our ways and beyond our fears from death into life? How am I listening to and following the directions of the Shepherd who will seek us out and comfort us when we are lost in sorrow and grief?

The song in the video above has been going through my mind today as I alternate between doing the tasks that this Wednesday holds and thinking of those who are terrified to send their children to school. I pause to pray and ask for guidance and fortitude to do what is before me. I speak to a friend whose son is on a field trip and she wondered if she should let him go. I wonder how we are being called to work on these crises in our community..Those thoughts turn into prayers and I am reminded that last week’s gospel had the Risen Christ asking Peter to feed his sheep and tend his lambs.

We have a part in the healing and reconciliation that is needed for this time of deep darkness. We are called to let our lights shine. We have been given a Christ light to shine within us and to share with the world. So the song becomes my prayer. The thoughts of others become my prayers and I am listening. Will you listen along with me for God’s will for us and the actions God is calling us to at this time and in this place? In her reflection on John 10 Professor Karoline Lewis wrote:

This is Jesus as the Good Shepherd -- who tends his sheep but is always going out to find the abandoned. Those thrown out, cast out, tossed out -- and expects us to do the same.

Not only are we deeply known and loved by Jesus, we are called to deeply know and love one another. To know and to love, to seek and to find, to pray and to take action… Shepherd us O Lord beyond our wants, beyond our fears, from death into life.

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