08/18/2019    The MET process concludes.  The call process begins.  We have known troubled waters and enjoyed calm seas.  We have gushed in fragrant flourish and wilted in arid recession.  We remain, for some 130+ years of cling to the cornerstone, of hug to the robes of Christ Jesus, of outreach to the hands of God.  A poem has stirred my thinking this week – a poem “randomly” run across as I sought ideas for lines to make a point at this moment in our faith community.  Found in Poems That Will Change Your Life from Fall River Press, Elizabeth Barrett Browning spoke in “The Little Cares”: 

The little cares that fretted me,

I lost them yesterday

Among the fields above the sea,

Among the winds at play;

Among the lowing of the herds,

The rustling of the trees,

Among the singing of the birds,

The humming of the bees.

 

The foolish fears of what may happen,

I cast them all away

Among the clover-scented grass,

Among the new-mown hay;

Among the husking of the corn,

Where drowsy poppies nod,

Where ill thoughts die and good are born

Out in the fields of God.

The joy of the poem comes to rest in me in the view of nature as “the fields of God.”  This defines my faith.  God is present, always.  And so, I know we will be led in the call we make moving forward.  I do NOT herein rise to a pulpit, put potent postulations and perception forward to give glowing account of an all-knowing me.  I do wish to share my belief to perhaps lend thought to others as a new shepherd comes to guide and teach, nourish and replenish us. 

                First and foremost, I believe in the literal truth of the Bible.  Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost to write this text.  That is my cornerstone.  My many, many sins sit on it, are shown by it, are forgiven through it – my assurance of heaven rises from it.  Secondly, if I believe in Jesus Christ, His life, teachings, death, burial, descent to Hell, resurrection, and ascension, and that this Son of God made man carried everyone’s sin on His shoulders – then in Christ alone am I saved.  I need to hear that every Sunday.  I must find my God-given talent so my hands might and should do His work.  I must be baptized into the faith and I must partake of Christ’s body and blood present in the Sacrament of Communion.  My works and my effort to live by the 10 Commandments ill prepare me for heaven.  Love comes with difficulty – love of neighbor, enemy, and friend.  I am best at sinning – and know the route to repentance lies only in our Savior.  I am judged by people daily – we all are.  We all do our share of judging and justifying.  I try my best to “Judge not, Lest I be judged.”  I’m not so good at that either.  I know where two gather in His name, He will be – where I walk and daydream, He will be.   And so very much more that space does not allow…

                I pray for a good human shepherd who will speak for our Good Shepherd with His truth in the forefront, His forgiveness through faith and love at our corners, and His voice in the rustling of our trees. That our church will be without walls.    submitted by Dave Smith