Sunday, April 21, 2013

Monday Morning Offering: April 22


Image: George Mendoza


(Sunday, April 21, was "Good Shepherd Sunday")

Good and gracious God,

A week ago today, another tragedy of terror struck your people:
some have died, so many are injured
and all of us,
no matter where we were when the bombs exploded,
find our hearts scarred this morning...

At first, like scared sheep, we were scattered
but then we came together, even stronger than before,
united not in fear but in resolve
to stand as one in evil's face and let nothing shake our faith
that within us and among us lives a Spirit
breathing strength and hope beyond our own to share...

We need a shepherd, Lord, a good shepherd
whose voice we know and trust as yours,
whose voice calls each of us by name,
whose voice speaks words of truth...

At times, in tragedy, listen as we might,
we find it hard to hear you and may wonder, in our fear:
how you let this terror strike,
why you didn't move to stop it,
why the innocent were hurt...

Such answers don't come easy and there are times
when we strain to hear your shepherd's voice
but meet the silence of your wordless presence
and we wonder: if silence is your language, Lord,
how might we come to speak it?

We need a shepherd, Lord, a good shepherd who,
even if in silence, lifts us up from grief and holds us close
and binds and heals the wounds our bodies bear
and those that mark our souls and haunt our thoughts and dreams...

We need a shepherd, Lord, a good shepherd
who will hold us in and through our grief
until our mourning yields acceptance
and our sorrow breaks to welcome joy's return...

We need a shepherd, Lord, a good shepherd
who will gather us together to nourish and strengthen us
to work to build a world where terror has no place
and peace reigns firm and gently over all...

We need a shepherd, Lord, a good shepherd
to search us out and bring us back when, like sheep,
we go astray and try to make it on our own:
we need a shepherd's crook to show us
where's the path that keeps us safe and leads us home...

We need a shepherd, Lord, a good shepherd
to guide us through dark valleys, through our fears
and through those times when everything familiar
is at stake and we long and pray for safety and for calm...

We need a shepherd, Lord, a good shepherd,
to guide us to the streams where we can drink of peace,
and to meadows where our souls can rest and trust
that all shall be well, that all shall be well,
that all manner of things shall be well...

Good shepherd of us all, keep us from harm
when evil walks our sunlit streets
and prowls in dark of night:
help us to trust that you are by our side,
with your crook and staff to comfort and to guide us... 

Open our eyes and our hearts, Lord,
to the ways we might shepherd one another
when we meet each other's wants and needs,
this day, this night, this week...

Be our wise and gentle shepherd, Lord,
and at day's end, bring us safely home:
one flock, safe in your arms and in your peace...

Amen.

(For your prayer: 6 musical settings of Psalm 23 and one more here)


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