Community in Action August 11, 2020

Today I am doing a memorial service for a woman who is a Christian, but didn’t have a strong church connection anywhere. I have a friend who is a funeral director and every once in a while she checks to see if I am available to officiate a memorial when the deceased person does not have a church to which they belong.

    I believe everyone deserves to have a moment when the world around us stands still to grieve and honor their presence here on earth. Each person has been created by God and is loved by God so we need to take a moment out of our lives and recognize this bearer of God’s image.

    As I prayed, pondered, and prepared for today I thought about the Great Shepherd. The Great Shepherd of whom David described in Psalm 23. The Shepherd who provides for us and protects us whenever we are wiling to go to him for those things.

    I also thought about the Good Shepherd. The one who called himself the Good Shepherd, Jesus. In John 10 Jesus talks about what it means to be a Good Shepherd. It is one who is willing to sacrifice himself for the sheep. It is one who knows the sheep by name and allows them to know him by name as well. Remember to know someone by name in the Hebrew culture makes you vulnerable, it allows that person to have some influence over you.

    As we grow in our faith we learn to know Jesus more and more and can recognize his voice more easily and more often, though sometimes at any age or at any maturity the voice may be hard to hear. Jesus called himself not only the Good Shepherd, but the gate to the sheep pen. He is the one who leads us to safety, to home, but he is also the one who leads us out into the world to enjoy, experience, and explore the world around us.

    So in these musings I thought of the final person of the trinity. The one who is called the comforter or the one of whom Jesus said would come to us when Jesus left to ascend to the heavens. This is the one whom walks with us along our journey here on earth and I think will walk with us as we enter the realm of the here after.

    I couldn’t think of a name other than the Holy Shepherd. Holy meaning set apart. The one who is different than the others, but embodies the love and compassion of them both. The Holy Shepherd will never leave us nor hide from us. This Shepherd will make sure we are guarded and directed to become the best sheep we can be.

    Today I hope to convey to those who attend the memorial that their friend, their companion, the person they come to dignify and the one whose life they come to celebrate, will not only hear of the Great Shepherd and the Good Shepherd, but will leave knowing that the Holy Shepherd longs to walk with them here on earth as well.

    May you find comfort and peace today as the Holy Shepherd watches over you today.


    Pastor Randy

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