A Devotion for Saturday, May 2, 2020
Ezekiel 34:1-16 (NRSV)
The word of the Lord came to me: 2 Mortal, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel: prophesy, and say to them—to the shepherds: Thus says the Lord God: Ah, you shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? 3 You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fatlings; but you do not feed the sheep. 4 You have not strengthened the weak, you have not healed the sick, you have not bound up the injured, you have not brought back the strayed, you have not sought the lost, but with force and harshness you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd; and scattered, they became food for all the wild animals. 6 My sheep were scattered, they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill; my sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with no one to search or seek for them.
7 Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 8 As I live, says the Lord God, because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild animals, since there was no shepherd; and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep; 9 therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 10 Thus says the Lord God, I am against the shepherds; and I will demand my sheep at their hand, and put a stop to their feeding the sheep; no longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, so that they may not be food for them.
11 For thus says the Lord God: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. 12 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. 13 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. 14 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. 15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord God. 16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.
Thoughts from “The Word in Season”
Fence versus Tables
“I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out.”
I recently heard a saying that caught my attention: “If you have all you need, don’t build a fence, build a longer table.” In an age where we are bombarded with messages of scarcity and fear, this is a captivating comment, and it echoes the promise we hear in scripture regarding how God relates to us.
These verses in Ezekiel emphasize the way that God was, and continues to be, actively involved in the lives of those who are weak, lost, injured and oppressed. We are reminded that God will not forget them – and us – and works for justice in our behalf.
As Jesus’ followers are invited to be partners in this life-giving and restorative work. When we feed those who are hungry in body and soul, the love and grace we have receive from God is extended. As we share what we have been given, we discover that there is always enough – food, love, peace – and some to share.
Prayer: Rescuing God, open my eyes and ears to how I can nurture those who are scattered. Amen.
Prayer Concern: Food Service Workers
Hymn for Reflection:
“Lord, Whose Love in Humble Service” (LBW #712)
Lord, whose love in humble service bore the weight of human need,
Who upon the cross, forsaken, worked your mercy’s perfect deed:
We, your servants, bring the worship not of voice alone, but heart;
Consecrating to your purpose ev’ry gift which you impart.
Still your children wander homeless; still the hungry cry for bread;
Still the captives long for freedom; still in grief we mourn our dead.
As you, Lord, in deep compassion healed the sick and freed the soul,
By your Spirit send our power to our world to make it whole.
As we worship, grant us vision, till your love’s revealing light
In its height and depth and greatness dawns upon our quickened sight,
Making known the needs and burdens your compassion bids us bear,
Stirring us to ardent service, your abundant life to share.
Called by worship to your service, forth in your dear name we go,
To the child, the youth, the aged, loved in living deeds to show;
Hope and health, goodwill and comfort, counsel, aed, and peace we give,
That your servants, Lord, in freedom may your mercy know and live.
If you would like to borrow an ELW or a WOV hymnal (or both) during this time of sheltering in place, you may pick one up in the narthex on the table to the right as you come in. They have been sanitized for you protection.
Please put your name on the check-out list so we can remind you to bring it/them back when we are able to resume worship in the sanctuary. Also, please sanitize them before you bring them back.
“Do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’
or ‘What will we wear?’ … But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well..’”
– Matthew 6:31,33 (NRSV)
Blessings & Peace,
Want to do something positive in this uncertain, anxious time?
Write an encouraging card, note or letter
for one of our shut-ins (Ken Bechtler, Myrtle Danielson, Helen Randall and Barb Morphew) which can be brought to church for delivery (place in the basket in the breezeway).
Or, make some cheerful, simple artwork –
for others and for yourself – that can be put in a window to cheer you up, and those who may see it in your neighborhood.
Do you Quilt?
How about making Masks out of quilting fabric? It’s supposed to be one of the best fabrics to use, and there are patterns online to make them.
Write a Devotion
to post here and share with others, something encouraging or inspirational.
Perhaps it could be a remembrance or experience of God’s faithfulness or love at work in your life.
For those affected in any way by the Covid-19 pandemic, especially Felicity Luthanen who has tested positive.
For our congregation in this time of separation, that we would yet be held together.
What about a Sign Campaign?
Would we want to make simple roadside signs – from the people of Messiah – indicating prayers and support for medical, food, pharmacy, and other essential service workers (especially “on the front lines”)? What do you think? Could be a visible way of “sharing the love of Christ” in this time.
Have another idea? Let me know, and I will share it here!