Tag Archives: Psalm 23

Jesus is Here. Jesus Loves Us. It Will All Be Okay.

shepherdfor Sunday, May 11, 2014
4th Sunday of Easter
Good Shepherd Sunday
Graduation Sunday
Year A
lectionary focus: Psalm 23

Welcome!

Here is a story that Pastor Catherine told recently:
One day Pastor Catherine was at the grocery store. There she saw a mother with her baby daughter. The baby daughter was not happy; she was in the seat of the grocery cart crying at the top of her lungs. The mother was trying to shop as quickly as possible but the baby just kept crying and crying and crying. The mother was speaking very softly and saying beautiful words of comfort. “It’s okay Susie. I’m sorry you are so upset. It was not a good idea to stop at the store now, but in a few minutes this will be finished and then you can go home and have your favorite lunch and I’ll tuck you into bed for a nice nap. Don’t cry, Susie. I love you. I am here. It will all be okay.” And the mother just kept saying these soothing words over and over while the baby kept crying. When Pastor Catherine was leaving the grocery store, she saw the mother loading the groceries into the car and putting her baby into the carseat. Pastor Catherine went over to the young mother and said, “Excuse me, I just want to say what a good job you are doing. You were speaking so lovingly while your daughter was so upset. You are a great mother to Susie.” The young mother stopped and looked kind of puzzled and then said, “Oh. My daughter is Janet. I am Susie. I was saying the words I know Jesus would say to comfort me.”

Today is a day of many celebrations. Today we are still celebrating Easter…because the mystery and joy of Easter are too big to celebrate on just one Sunday; and I’m sure you know that we are celebrating Mother’s Day because you already have been making your mother feel special; and we are celebrating our friends who are graduating from high school and going forth into the world in a new way. And in addition to celebrating Easter and Mother’s Day and Graduation Day, our Bible story today is the 23rd Psalm, the Lord is My Shepherd, so the church calls today Good Shepherd Sunday.

Now most of us may not know any actual shepherds, but we know that sheep need a shepherd. Sheep trust the shepherd to care for them. Sheep trust the shepherd to stay with them and lead them. Through good weather and bad weather. Through good pastures and not so good pastures. Through safety and danger. Wherever they are, whatever they are doing, sheep trust their shepherd to continue always to care for them and be with them.

Pastor Catherine’s funny story about the mother in the grocery store reminds us that each of us trusts Jesus to comfort us. Like sheep trusting the shepherd to care for them, we too trust Jesus to care for each of us. No matter who we are, or where we are, or what we are doing, Jesus is with us. As mommies and daddies and children, as family and friends, as students and workers, as God’s Easter people, we trust Jesus will always be with us in good moments and bad, in the excitement of special days and the slowness of boring days, in the times of comfort and in the times of fear. The Lord is our shepherd. Jesus is here. Jesus loves us. It will all be okay. And we go forth trusting Jesus to continue to be with us, to lead us, to comfort us now and always. There is nothing that can separate us from the love of God.

Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)

Dear Lord,
Thank You
for celebrations.
Thank You
for Your love.
Thank You
for always being with me.
Amen

We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.

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Giggling with God

IMG_0759for Sunday, April 21, 2013
4th Sunday of Easter
Good Shepherd Sunday
Earth Sabbath
Year C
lectionary focus: Psalm 23
(for a good grown-up sermon see: Sheep Are Stupid by Rob Brink)

Happy Easter! Happy Earth Day! Happy Good Shepherd Sunday! Wow! Today is a busy day on our calendar. So many things to celebrate…we are still in the Season of Easter rejoicing in the joy and mystery of Easter; tomorrow is Earth Day and the world honors the beauty and wonder of God’s planet; and today our Bible story is Psalm 23, glorifying The Lord is our shepherd; we have all that we need. Celebrating all of this joy and mystery and beauty and love just makes me…giggle.

When I lived in North Carolina, our neighbor had sheep. Sheep are soft and dainty, and when they say baaaa, they stick out their tongues and look so cute! But honestly, for being so precious, sheep are not very smart. Nope. Sheep can’t find always find their way back to the barn. If one sheep starts running just for fun, the others all panic and start running with fear. And sometimes they forget to get out of the rain and their wool gets so soaked that it is way heavy. Sheep can very easily get confused and lost and be stubborn and mean and worry and do things that hurt themselves! Without a shepherd to watch over them, sheep would have a very tough time.

And so our Bible story, one of the most popular and well-known, Psalm 23…with its opening words, says “The Lord is my shepherd” which means I am like a sheep! This verse makes me giggle because I often do behave like a sheep! I can very easily get confused and lost and be stubborn and mean and worry and do things that hurt myself. But God is my Shepherd. God is our Shepherd. God leads us and looks after us and loves us. Because honestly, even though we are not always very smart, God thinks we are just precious. And I think God giggles about us being sheep, too.

So the next time you find yourself a bit confused or worried or angry, stop and realize that you are being a sheep. Then look to God the Good Shepherd and ask Him what you are supposed to do. You are a precious child of God, and God, like a Good Shepherd, loves to be with you and to watch over you and is always ready to help you.

Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)

Dear Lord,
You are my Shepherd.
Help me
when I act like a sheep.
Thank You
for watching over me.
Amen

We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.