(Brooke’s generosity Blog)
May 17, 2020
Your rod and your staff they comfort me…
We have experienced a lot of affliction lately. Our lives are smaller, and we are concerned about the wellbeing of ourselves and our loved ones. We are concerned about the economic wellbeing of our communities and our world. We pray for hourly workers and people who have to go to work regardless of the conditions, as the economy ‘opens up.’
While God doesn’t want us to be sheep, following any authority figure without question, we need certain structures to stay on the right path. In the Psalmist’s time, a rod and staff were used to guide sheep, to keep them on the right path. The Psalmist counseled his community to trust God’s guidance.
Think of raising children: they grow more confident and secure through an interplay of structure, guidance, and creativity. In a healthy environment, children feel secure enough to venture forth, confident that there are adults who ensure their safety. And so today, we remember the people who have cared for us, providing love, wisdom, structure, acceptance, and protection.
As we venture toward the new reality of living with pandemic and the, hopefully, post-pandemic world, we need to know that we have the wisdom, guidance, and creativity to respond in ways that are helpful to us and others. We receive this guidance when we listen for God’s guidance.
God’s guidance comes in many ways:
- a still small voice,
- an insight,
- a hunch,
- an encounter,
- the right book at the right time.
We open to God’s guidance through times of prayer and by simply asking for it. Regularly I ask God questions like: “show me the way,” “guide me in this situation,” “should I undertake this project,” “how shall I respond to this request.” If I prayerfully pause and notice, an answer will come. Eventually. The waiting part is difficult.
You anoint my head with oil…(Psalm 23:5)
In the Biblical tradition, anointing with oil is a sign of divine favour. To be anointed is to be chosen and to have a special relationship with God and your community. In times of illness, anointing with oil mediates God’s healing touch. Anointing not only soothes our skin, it also calms our spirits. Anointing transforms our cells; it also heals our souls.
These days, we all need divine anointing. We all need the calm and comfort – the sense of wellbeing – that comes from God’s touch. When God anoints you, you know that you are blessed and that everything’s going to be alright despite challenging circumstances. When another person lovingly touches us, we feel at home in the world.
You are anointed. You are blessed. You are loved. God is with you.