(Brooke’s generosity Blog)
May 10, 2020

The Lord is my shepherd… (Psalm 23:1)

I find comfort in familiar words these days.

I find great comfort in the familiar. I miss not seeing your faces on Sunday morning. I miss the smiles and the laughter of the children. I long for more physical kinds of connection, like the hugs that seem so natural and warm. We are still connected, just differently.

Linda and I were watching TVO one evening. It was a four hour “World Premier.” The show was “TRIPPING the Rideau Canal.”

For the first time on Canadian television, the documentary ran in its entirety a full four hours. This immersive production showcases a 27-kilometre portion of the historic Rideau Canal. I know that river. It was a five-minute walk from my home where I grew up. From Manotick to the majestic locks beside Parliament Hill, we went on a journey in real time.

A person who lives with us walked in and commented on our choice of viewing. There was astonishment and amazement that we would choose to watch a four-hour show of a boat wending its way down a river and a canal. No special effects. No splashy violence. No news of any sort except the history of the canal. A canal that many-great grandfathers worked on in the 1830s. This person (a daughter) connected via text with her sisters and cousins. Linda’s brother was watching the same show at the same time in his home beside the river. There was stunned amazement and a suspicion that the seniors were losing their minds! They delighted in pictures of the seniors taken while these seniors watched this amazing show! We are so delighted that we can still surprise.

The viewers enjoyed the journey immensity. We knew the river. We knew the places. We recognised familiar houses. The sound the birds made was evocative of the sounds of the river. Gentle and renewing.

The Lord is my shepherd…

The Psalm speaks of God as shepherd. There is no indication that we are “sheep” who will follow just anyone. God doesn’t want us to be sheep, led by any charismatic authority figure, seeking our vote or adulation. God doesn’t want us to give up thinking when we go to church or think about only spiritual things and forget about daily life.

Like a good parent – or shepherd of souls – God wants us to be creative and active and to use our freedom wisely. Like a good parent God creates a pasture or playground within which we can freely grow, experiment, and learn and then embody the values we’ve received in our own unique ways.

When the Psalmist says, “the Lord is my shepherd,” I believe this points to the confidence that we have – the trust we have – in God’s care. Good caregiving provides a safe field of dreams, a container, for us to express ourselves without fear or anxiety; for us to feel safe and then to explore.

These days, we need a loving shepherd. We don’t feel safe as we recognize that this pandemic will go on for the foreseeable future and will be a threat to many of us until we find a vaccine and/or cure.

We don’t need prevarications and false hopes. We need the sense that God cares, God tells us the truth, and that God has the big issues of life and death settled. That is one of the reasons that our church staff are spending so much time connecting with individuals and with groups in the church. We care. We want you to know this.

It is harder to communicate with a large number of people when all the contact is one on one. It is easier with over 100 people at tables in a Wednesday @ Knox luncheon. When I attend W@K I always take some time to look around. I see each table as a mini community. The smiles, the laughter, the engagement with one another is magical. WE connect with many all at once and it is good. We all miss that. It is better to be safe so that we can gather once again in the future.

King David has long been recognised as the author of the 23rd psalm. David lived a tough and hardscrabble life and often found himself in trouble, both from external foes and his own spectacular missteps. Still, he took solace – and found strength – in knowing God’s care and that whether he lived or died he was in God’s hands.

Psalm 23 proclaims we are in God’s hands, whether we stay healthy or get sick, live or die during this time of pandemic. That’s a big promise – and requires big trust. I find that when I realize that I am in God’s hands I feel comfort. I hope you feel the same way.

We are in God’s hands. We can be boldly prudent, loving the best we can while practicing social distance, and reaching out knowing that God is with us in the darkest night.

We are together in love, in compassion, and in hope.

May you find again, or for the first time, the love and comfort of God’s presence during this unique time. May generosity and the connections that we have fill your heart with hope.