“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…” So begins the 23rd Psalm. Like a typical Hollywood movie, the Psalm begins with a beautiful time free of cares, followed by the challenges of the valley of the shadow of death, followed by redemption (in God’s house and presence). Psalm 23 is dependent upon a covenant or promise God made to humanity in Genesis 9 after the great flood. “Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood. Never again shall a flood consume the entire earth.” The beauty of the rainbow after the storm becomes the sign of God’s promise: a sign of God’s own nature, a caregiver instead of a punisher, a nurturer instead of a demander.
The rainbow moment was perhaps the first time humans and God understood life would have plenty enough struggles and storms of its own, without an angry deity making life even more miserable. Think of this past week, between the snowstorms and cold pounding the south and Texas having its own essentially unregulated power-grid millions of humans are suffering through no fault of their own. The core of our faith through the message of Jesus and Scriptures like the 23rd Psalm is that it’s precisely at such times that God seeks to be our shepherd, our comfort, our guide in learning how to better care for one another, especially the most vulnerable. God’s promise not to flood the earth becomes a covenant to love, and an invitation for all the faithful to love our neighbors as well. Below is a link to UMNews that I invite you to click on. It will lead to stories of what UM Churches are doing in the midst of the storms in the Southern US. It will remind some of you of what UM Churches did in the midst of the Red River Valley floods. It will remind us what is at the heart of God’s covenant to care for the people of the earth.
May God shepherd us all, and lead us to care well for one another.