Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
For thus says the Lord God: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited parts of the land. I will feed them with good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and they shall feed on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord God. I will weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice. –Ezekiel 34:11-16
In times like these, we need to rise each morning read the above verses and perhaps review them again each evening. We have the greatest of Shepherd. Now is the time to hold tightly to that assurance letting our fears be turned into energy to emulate his goodness, mercy, and justice. God is greater than all evil. We are called to join with God in overcoming evil with good.
I mourn with the families who have lost loved ones through recent mass shooting. I celebrate with the school in California that was able to thwart the worst impacts of such an attempted shooting by implementing a timely lockdown. I join with the millions of people who champion enforcement of current gun laws, the creation of better systems to assure those banned from buying weapons don’t, and improved mental health systems across our country. While needed, these changes are not enough, and the answer lies in the hearts and minds of each person as we struggle to be God’s flock.
Would God recognize us as God’s sheep, when searching for us? Does our behavior set us apart as people of mercy seeking justice? Would the Great Shepherd find people full of hate and envy, fear and privilege, anger and hostility? Would the Great I AM know us by our love for God and our love for one another? Are we able to love as Jesus loves?
Lord, we are able, Our spirits are thine.
Remold them, make us, Like thee, divine.
Thy guiding radiance Above us shall be
A beacon to God, To love and loyalty.* Amen.
*Refrain from Are Ye Able by Earl Marlatt see at https://hymnary.org/text/are_ye_able_said_the_master