For Sunday, May 3 2020
On the long drive from London to Fishguard in west Wales there is a hamlet on the old A40 in Carmarthenshire named ‘Halfway’. We’ve never known where it was halfway between.
As we continue this strange journey together this Eastertide, we are all wondering how-much-longer-till-we-get-there, not knowing what ‘there’ might even look like.
So much of life as we knew it has paused or ended. Not knowing how much longer is stressful. It helps most humans to have some sense of the direction and duration of travel.
As we hurtle along a track none of us chose to take, we need to stay supple to withstand the knocks, both physically and mentally. It has been inspiring this week to see Royal Ballet dancers practising in their kitchens at home. Remember to keep doing the everyday things that help you keep your balance.
This fourth Sunday of Easter is traditionally known as Good Shepherd Sunday. The scripture readings tell of God’s faithfulness as that of a shepherd on a hillside tending their flock. We listen to the words of Psalm 23; ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…’.
Psalm 23 is a song of supreme confidence in God’s providence and tenderness. We recite it in times of joy at weddings and baptisms and in times of deep distress at death beds and funerals.
The hymns we sing based on this psalm can comfort us in unexpected moments.
In this week’s newsletter, I offer you a modern Japanese version of Psalm 23 this week, offering a fresh interpretation, ‘The Lord my pace-setter, I shall not be rushed…’
The image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd took on a new meaning for his followers after his death. In the post-resurrection days, it was hard for them to work out what had happened to Jesus. It was a time of reorientation. When Jesus had spoken to them of himself as a shepherd, this was to help them find their way on this track, a track none of them had chosen to take. The shepherd is also a draegoman, a guide who goes ahead to find a place to rest.
In these upsetting times, may we find solace in the scriptures and in ancient hymns that sing of God’s faithfulness.
St Peter’s will continue to accompany you all on this Easter journey, however long it takes. We are currently reviewing content and communication tools.
It’s wonderful to receive so much feedback and encouragement. Do let us know what helps and if you have any problems accessing material. Watch out for more Eastertide Meditations to help praying imaginatively.
With blessings for the journey ahead,