It is the season of the Spirit. Totally dependable and utterly unpredictable, gentle and wild, challenging and comforting-this Spirit cannot be described or contained. It blows where it will, taking us along on the journey.
This is a wild Pentecost ride, to which we are all invited. Hold on to your seats-and each other. And discover that God can be found in faint whisper or fury of fire.
May 7: I Shall Not Want
Psalm 23, Acts 9:36-43, Revelation 7:9-17, John 10:22-30
Like many of us, I imagine, I memorized the 23rd Psalm as a child. When I was given the opportunity in Sunday school on my sixth birthday to choose a picture as a gift, I didn't hesitate. From among such familiar images as Jesus knocking on the door and welcoming children to his side, I picked Jesus holding the lost lamb.
Montessori-based religious education centers on this Jesus. Educators have discovered that a shepherd is a most comforting image for children.
But there was always one point of confusion for me as a child. In my recitations, I ran the lines of the first verse of the psalm together: "The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want." I always wondered why I shouldn't want this shepherd, especially since he was supposed to be taking such good care of me.
On the path of my faith journey since those days, I sometimes remember my early confusion and smile. Indeed, there have been days when this Jesus has been a shepherd I would rather not follow. I know his voice; but sometimes his call feels like much more than I ever bargained for.
It is impossible to follow this shepherd without walking into pain-one's own as well as that of the world. It is impossible to follow without understanding the cross and the commandment to pour ourselves out for enemy and friend.
This past week I have stood in court with battered women, prayed for a friend dying of cancer, shared bread with a community that