O my Beloved, you are my shepherd, I shall not want;
You bring me to green pastures for rest and lead me beside still waters renewing my spirit;
You restore my soul.
You lead me in the path of goodness to follow Love’s way.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow and of death, I am not afraid;
For You are ever with me; your rod and your staff they guide me, they give me strength and comfort.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of all my fears;
You bless me with oil, my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the heart of the Beloved forever. Amen
—Psalm 23 translation by Nan C. Merrill
This week, I have been thinking about God as a shepherd, how God works in our life.
God is not a dictator or persecutor, but a gentle shepherd who accompanies us in our human journey. The recent tragic incident at David and Mary Thomson Collegiate on February 14 breaks our hearts. Our prayers are with the students, parents, teachers, staff, and neighbours of the school.
As a father of two, I could not help but to ask, “What happened at school today?” I felt helpless. Some of the challenges our next generation is facing are very different from the challenges I faced growing up. I also recognize that the ways we were taught how to handle problems such as depression, bullying and conflict are not always healthy and helpful today. As a parent, sometimes I am too quick to tell my children what to do, and not good at listening to what they are experiencing and feeling or expressing my own fear and concerns. I am certain I am not the only one who is struggling with this. Instead of saying, “I care about what you are going through”, we end up saying, “How come you didn’t speak to me about it?”
The image of God as a gentle shepherd gives us a clue in how to relate to one another and how to work as a family and community. May we remember our God is a gentle shepherd who would guide us gently and firmly? May we speak and listen to each other gently during this uncertain, stressful, and tense time? May we be patient and gentle with our own struggles, questions, and disappointments?
Rev. Chuck Moon
A version of this message first appeared in the Saturday, February 19, 2022, edition of Tidbits.