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Centering Words:

God stirs our conscience into restlessness and heals our very hearts.  Our return to God is a sign of the healing that already has taken place within us.  God forgives us right where we are at.

 

Loving God, we give you thanks for moments, for people, for places, where we can pause, connect, mend and celebrate, always finding your Spirit in our midst.  Free us from the need to justify ourselves by our own anxious striving, that we may be abandoned to faith in you alone, through Jesus Christ.

 

1 John 4: 7-12

Know that the Lord is God.  It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.

 

Nestled in a hollow on the moor, it was the finest sheepfold I had ever seen.  One enormous circle, built of stone from the rocky debris nearby, it provided protection from cold sinter winds and now – a place for the sheep to huddle together for warmth where the shepherd could find them and feed them.

“Why didn’t they built it square?” my young companion asked.  I pondered a moment before answering, “It makes the fold more resistant to the wind,” I said.  With time to reflect, I came up with more ideas.  In a square fold, some sheep would end up in the corners – and corners can be cold.  The whole purpose of the sheepfold is to be an enfolding embrace – a wrap-around or warmth and security.

Such is the presence of our loving God.  Such is the fellowship of God’s people, the church.  No corners!  All are held together safe and secure in the God’s love, ready to move to new pastures when they hear and obediently follow, God’s voice.  Square may look smart, but the round encircling love of God proves best.

 

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Lord, help us – teach us – to follow you with reverence and with great JOY.