As a city girl, I sometimes get frustrated by the rural imagery that is used in our worship. I agree that green pastures and still waters can be good for the soul. But I also believe that bustling streets and glistening skyscrapers can give us a powerful sense of connection with God.

If I were to write a psalm beginning, “The Lord is my ____,” shepherd would not be my first choice to complete the sentence. I would want something more urban, like subway driver or security guard or night-shift worker.

I do, however, like the idea of the Lord being my pastor—the word that is used to translate shepherd in many languages. Pastoral care is clearly not restricted to pastoral landscapes. People everywhere need someone who can revive their soul.

It is, therefore, important to explore what “green pastures” and “still waters” mean for people in their particular context. Where can they lie down and feel safe? What enables them to feel refreshed and restored?

Pastors, like shepherds, have a responsibility to lead and guide others to such places and even to “make” them lie down! Such directive instruction may feel uncomfortable to both shepherd and sheep. It is, nevertheless, a helpful reminder to pastors that it is important to enforce rest. Encouraging others (or themselves) to sit on another committee or sign up for a new volunteer rotation is not always what a pastor should be doing.

David, who wrote this psalm, was a shepherd. I imagine that seeing the Lord as his shepherd helped David to be a better shepherd himself. Daily he sought to offer to others what God was providing for him. By seeing the Lord as our pastor, we will deepen our understanding of what it means both to receive and to give pastoral care.

Pastor God, lead me to those places that nourish my soul. Amen.

Rece las Escrituras usando Leccionario en Audio
Leer John 10:22-30

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Leccionario Semanal
May 2–8, 2022
Resumen de la Escritura

The imagery of sheep plays a prominent role in three of this week’s readings. Psalm 23 uses the relationship between the shepherd and the sheep as its guiding metaphor. The Lord is our shepherd and leads us to safe and fertile places. Even when we pass through a dark valley, the Lord is there protecting us with a shepherd’s weapon, a staff. In the Gospel reading, Jesus describes himself as a shepherd who calls his sheep. Because they are his, they hear his voice. In Revelation, Jesus becomes the sheep—or more specifically, the Lamb that was slain on our behalf. Those who endure will praise the Lamb forever. Acts is different in that it focuses on a resurrection story, a manifestation of God’s power working through Peter.

Preguntas para la reflexión

Read Acts 9:36-43. How can you be a witness and a vessel for God’s activity?
Read Psalm 23. Reflect on the questions the author poses in Tuesday’s meditation. Allow God’s guidance and correction to be comforting.
Read Revelation 7:9-17. How does knowing Christ as both Lamb and Shepherd help you work to bring about things not yet seen?
Read John 10:22-30. How does your faith allow you to hold your convictions without needing to grasp tightly to certainties?

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