One Voice Among Many – a pondering by Holly Woodbridge
It’s gotten very loud in our world. There are voices all around us, directing, persuading, prodding and very often misleading. We watch throngs of people follow like sheep this way and that. Who are we to listen to? Who are we to believe?
We hear voices of fear that lead to despair. Voices of anger that lead to destruction, voices of protest that lead to division.
Voices everywhere- we watch as flocks of people follow this way and that, rarely stopping to consider, reflect or pray. We, too, get caught up. We, too, are directed, persuaded, and distracted.
What are we to do?
John 10: says, “The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. ”
There is ONE voice to listen to, ONE voice that really matters. The voice of our Good Shepherd. The voice that leads to life. He says,
“ I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
This voice brings hope from despair, light out of darkness, peace in the midst of madness, and unity from division.
So today, listen to the Good Shepherd. I encourage you to read all of John 10 and remember who our shepherd is.
Gentle Shepherd come and lead us, For we need you to help us find our way
Gentle Shepherd come and feed us, For we need your strength from day to day
There's no other we can turn to, Who can help us face another day
Gentle Shepherd come and lead us, For we need to you to help us find our way
So, if you’re gonna be a sheep, why not follow Jesus, our good and gentle Shepherd?
Raining Bread from Heaven
Exodus 16: (2-4)
In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.
The poet Wendell Berry wrote, “It may be that when we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go we have come to our real journey.” These are not just the poignant words of a poet. There are some real spiritual nuggets of wisdom here. Let’s take a quick look this morning shall we!
It didn’t take the people of Israel very long to realize how uncomfortable things would get before God was finished making them into the people He had intended for them to be since the beginning. Honestly, it might have been simpler for Moses and Aaron to lead them back to Egypt, maybe grab a beef burrito with some chips on the side! But if they did they would never take their true place as God’s community of light and love to the world.
The work of becoming who God is calling you to be leads very often to a place of pain. And yet when has God ever abandoned you to it? Your belly may burn, but God will sustain you with bread from heaven. When that happens to you, you’ll know you’re on the right track.
Lord, You taught us to pray for daily bread. May it be enough for us as we travel throughout 2020 in wilderness places. Sustain us as we live through the deserts of pain and hunger. Lord, help us not to get lost there. When it seems bleak, continue to call us toward the life and purpose you have for us. Amen!
As you know, The Lord’s Supper plays a central role on in our church. This Sunday, August 2nd, we will partake of the Lord’s Supper together in house and on line. Towards the end of our time together as we partake of communion, just follow the prompts in the service if you are watching on line.
If you don't have the pre-packaged elements you can use bread and juice from your home if you so desire.