Pause

Pssst… hey, you. Did you know that there’s a wild and wonderful God traveling alongside you, all around you, within you right now?

The Bible tells us that our God is like a shepherd who never leaves the flock for one moment. God is always with us. We are never alone, never abandoned. And no matter what we do – no matter what choices we make or what happens to us – this God is always reaching out to us in love.

So pause. Rest for a moment. Abide in the Holy. And let God’s grace transform your living and loving.

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Listen

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. When the hired hand sees the wolf coming, he leaves the sheep and runs away. That’s because he isn’t the shepherd; the sheep aren’t really his. So the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them. He’s only a hired hand and the sheep don’t matter to him.

John 10:11-13

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Think

Those of us who are U.S. Americans have been taught from an early age that we should be individuals! Free! We belong to ourselves!

The call into the Christian life is so incredibly challenging because it threatens to write a new reality on our hearts: we don’t belong to ourselves. We belong to God. We are named, claimed, loved, held in an everlasting covenant with the Holy.

Our God is a shepherd. A shepherd that lives out love by accompanying the sheep everywhere they travel. Down in the valley? God is there. Up on a mountain? God is there. When things get hard, God does not wander off. God stays with us, comforting us where we hurt, cheering us on, gently and firmly bringing us back into community when we wander off.

Caela Simmons Wood

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Pray

God-the-Good-Shepherd, though the world tells me I was made for freedom and to seek my own desires, call me back to your truth. Write these new words on my heart: you are my child, the beloved, and I am your shepherd. Thank you, God, for your promise to never run away from me. May I always be running to you. Amen.

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Go

Go into the day ahead renewed, restored, and reinvigorated to live out the Good News of God’s love. God, the Good Shepherd, who never leaves our side, travels with you into the day ahead – whatever it holds. May the goodness of the Holy One shine brightly from your heart on each person you encounter.

Caela Simmons Wood

Rev. Caela Simmons Wood serves as the pastor of First Congregational United Church of Christ in Manhattan, KS. Caela is passionate about examining and dismantling systems of injustice, especially those related to race, gender identity, sexuality, and poverty. Caela lives with her husband (whom she met in youth group!), two sons, dog, and five hens (eggs!).

The Prayer: Be Thou My Vision

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