Lent 4: The Lord is My Shepherd

For most of us these days, the Coronavirus pandemic has touched all parts of our lives, including Sunday morning worship. Thanks to my pastor, Marian Buckwalter, for sharing the following pertinent message with us this week that we can each enjoy from an appropriate distance. May you be blessed!

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Monday, when our son came home from college–having had close contact with someone who was tested for coronavirus–our family self-quarantined. Anxiety was high, tensions ran deep. Test results take five long days.

Lord, you are my shepherd
        But I confess, I often want,
       Stuck in my own worries and cares of the day.
You led me to the woods behind my house
      Seated on a fallen tree
      Crisp air, trees almost budding.
      I found you again and you restored my soul.
You led our family up the steep mountain trail
      Drawing us together as we hiked
      The righteousness of laughter and freedom
      Of relationships being restored
      At the top of the mountain our cups overflowed:
      The beauty of five counties before us,
      Peace, and joy, and pictures taken.
Even though I look down into the valley of coronavirus
      Wondering about those test results,
      The what if’s…
You are with me
      Reminding me that many families are so much worse off than us
      Nudging me to pray for those families
      For our world that is more connected than I knew.
The table you set before us this week was always surrounded by the same 5 people
      Sometimes enemies, sometimes friends
      Tension at the table;
      Anoint us please!
In the midst of it all I notice your goodness and mercy
     Here with us
     Every day
I choose to dwell in your house, O Lord, my Shepherd
     All the days of my life.

(from Psalm 23)
Marian, far left, and her family at the summit of their hike

David’s declaration “I shall not want” is a statement of faith. Given that the shepherd is providing for his needs, to want or not want is a choice. David’s choice to “not want” meant choosing to notice and receive what the shepherd was offering to him.

For each of us something has radically changed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Our children are home from school; our place of work has closed for now; we are working from home; our appointments are cancelled; our job has increased and become never-ending; our aloneness is accentuated because we can’t get out to see people; our gatherings for worship aren’t happening; tensions at home run high. Which scenario(s) describes your situation?

How are we choosing to notice all that the Lord, our shepherd, is offering us? How are we receiving? The Psalm mentions pleasant places, but also very hard ones – the valley of the shadow of death. When every newscast reminds us of more deaths and maxed out hospitals we need not fear evil, because the shepherd is with us. We can choose to notice and to trust. This is a time to practice the age-old discipline of solitude and silence. Praying the Psalms, reading God’s love story to us (the Bible), quiet listening (maybe while taking a walk) can restore our souls and help us to notice that our shepherd is with us, gently leading.

We found out the test results last evening – NEGATIVE! We rejoiced for the student and for ourselves.

Marian Buckwalter

One thought on “Lent 4: The Lord is My Shepherd

  1. Yeah for the Shepherd. Yeah for your choice.

    On Sat, Mar 21, 2020 at 4:57 PM Mennonite Women of Virginia wrote:

    > mwova posted: ” For most of us these days, the Coronavirus pandemic has > touched all parts of our lives, including Sunday morning worship. Thanks to > my pastor, Marian Buckwalter, for sharing the following pertinent message > with us this week that we can each enjoy from a” >

    Like

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