This upcoming Sunday is often referred to as “Good Shepherd” Sunday. We read Psalm 23 and hear from John’s Gospel Jesus’ promise that “I am the Good Shepherd” who came to give “abundant life.” (John 10:10-11). While few of us these days have any experience with sheep or ranching, most of us are familiar with Psalm 23 “The Lord is my Shepherd.” It is a favorite of church going and non-going church folk alike.

In these days of pandemic, we understand what it means to walk in “the valley of the shadow of death.” Even as our state seeks to slowly re-open public venues, there is a darkness and a fear that lingers around us. “Is it too soon?” “Will infections and deaths increase?” Will it ever possible to be “back to normal” again or are we dealing with a “new normal” indefinitely? So many decisions and choices for us to make as individuals, as a church, as a community and a nation.

Pastor Joe Wahlin reminded me that in the 23rd Psalm, God is the one who does everything. The Lord is the one who gives rest, who leads, comforts, prepares, anoints, and follows you with goodness and mercy. God gives it all; we need only to rest and to receive God’s provision, protection and goodness.

These days, loneliness and sorrow oddly seem to mix with a sense of anxiety, urgency, and restlessness. Yet, I am uplifted by the Good Shepherd’s promise for abundant life and a stillness of the soul, not only for the end of the journey, but for all the days of my life, including these days, too.