Sunday was Good Shepherd Sunday. We heard Psalm 23, which is one of the chunks of the Bible that many people know from heart ("The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want," and so forth). I made this sketch:
As you can see, I wasn't as comforted by the Psalm as I often am. As I reflected on the Psalm, I wondered why so many of us do find it comforting, with its talk of the valley of the shadow of death. It's not a Psalm that promises us a happy, easy time. Is there a Psalm that does offer us a happy, easy time? It does seem to offer the hope that we have a shepherd beside us.
As we left church to make the bank deposit, we noticed a big duck and 8 tiny ducklings beginning to make their way across the street to the pond that's on the campus of Broward College. I saw an oncoming car, and I knew that the light was about to change. I said, "I can't look."
But I'm glad that I did look. Traffic on both sides of the street had stopped, and one had put on the emergency blinkers. Even though the ducks took their time to make their way across, no one honked, no one zoomed around them endangering others. Hurrah!
I thought about the Jesus talking about being the good shepherd, which is a metaphor that might not work for many of us these days--who among us has ever seen a shepherd. I thought about Jesus as the person driving the car who not only slows down, but puts on emergency blinkers to let everyone else know the need to slow down.
There are days when the future feels a bit bleak, when I can't imagine how we'll move forward into whatever the new normal is going to be. That's when I remind myself that nothing has really changed. We may think we know what the future holds, but we don't. These days, that reality is just a bit more stark.
But there are little ones that need to be protected, and plenty of other types of this work that needs to be done. Let us get to it.
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