Connecting Beyond the Walls

Today’s word of hope comes from our own Rev. Brent Greene, Interim Minister of Discipleship

May has arrived and it’s strawberry season! Jones Family Farm in Pfafftown opened on Sat., April 25, and sold out within two hours of strawberry picking! Crossnore Children’s Home also opened yesterday, Friday, May 1, taking on-line and phone orders. To top if off, Krispy Kreme offered their Strawberry Glazed and Strawberry Cream Filled doughnuts this week ONLY. As some southerners might say, “The smell and taste of fresh strawberries are to die for!”

As I arrived at Jones Farm Tuesday morning during a quick break from teaching, the strawberry fields were covered with adults and children as far as the eye could see. The harvest was plentiful and pickers had come from miles away. Like sheep grazing in peaceful pastures, anxious and hopeful strawberry enthusiasts were everywhere for the picking.

After my experience looking out at the Jones strawberry fields this week along with reading today’s familiar Scripture texts – Psalm 23; Ezekiel 34:1-16: Luke 15:1-7, I am reminded of the overwhelming promise that God is with us. God is our Good Shepherd. No matter what paths we cross, no matter what kind of earthly leaders try to guide us, no matter what our needs are, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are supreme and watching over all humanity and all of creation.

During this time of national and global crisis, one might believe that this is the “worst time” in modern history. Not only are we called to practice social distancing and isolation for safety’s sake but some might practice an emphasis on self pity and extreme self-reliance instead of feasting on communion with God, our creator and friend. Some of us might easily forget that our God is always available to be near with us if we just set the table for this most “welcome guest.”

Today’s Scripture passages provide reminders that even on a seemingly difficult or frightening path, Christ our Savior, is with us, but we still may have to go straight through the paths of death and destruction to get to the other side.

Theologian and writer Marva Dawn once described the experience of riding her bike on one occasion and how she was pedaling down a dirt road and doing her best to deal with a deep rut that had been carved out of the middle of the road by a motorcycle. She kept getting caught in the rut and then tripped up by the rut as she tried to escape it. Finally, it occurred to her simply to ride in the rut. What she discovered was that the rut provided the smoothest ride of her life! As she cruised along she was able to gain her speed and relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery all around her. The rut became a track—a track of righteousness—a path that led to green pastures and still waters.[1]

Our Good Shepherd, the Holy Spirit, has been, is, and will continue to be with us on the mountain tops, in the valleys, and in the ruts of life. A path of righteousness does not need to be traveled alone but with a rod and staff to comfort and guide us. Certainly, many of us need a reminder that God is with us in all seasons and during all circumstances. Take courage my friends and read these words knowing that Emmanuel, God with us, is right beside you this day and forevermore.

You are true to your name, and you lead me along the right paths.
 I may walk through valleys as dark as death,  but I won’t be afraid.
You are with me, and your shepherd’s rod  makes me feel safe. Psalm 23:3b-4 CEV 

  1. Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary – Feasting on the Word – Year A, Volume 2: Lent through Eastertide. 



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