“Then they will pasture and lie down, and no one shall make them afraid.” (Zephaniah 3:13)
Recently as I was driving, the Bach cantata “Sheep May Safely Graze” came on the radio (I like to listen to WRR, especially while I’m driving and liable to get temperamental). I was brought back to the day of my installation as Christ Lutheran Church’s pastor in November, 2019. Suzanne Dunkelberg sang, and Hando Nahkur played, that piece at my request. I assumed Bach was working on a Biblical reference but apparently he wasn’t; it was a secular lyric, representing pagan stories.
But that’s fine, because what I’ve always wanted church to be is a place of safety, where Christ’s flock might be free and at peace. “No one shall make them afraid” is such a simple, basic, and yet beautiful promise. Just to be able to enjoy the fact of existing, as a loved and protected sheep of God’s fold, is a bliss greater than anything wealth or power offers us.
As we move to the days of the celebration of Christ’s birth, consider the feeling and experience of safety. Where and when have you felt it? How have you contributed (or not) to that feeling for others?
Pray: Today’s O Antiphon
O come O King of nations, come
O Cornerstone that binds in one:
Refresh the hearts that long for you;
Restore the broken, make us new.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel
Our Father, who art in heaven...
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
Pastor Ben Dueholm