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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The Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing. He lets me rest in grassy meadows; he leads me to restful waters; he keeps me alive. He guides me in proper paths for the sake of his good name.

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no danger because you are with me. Your rod and your staff— they protect me.

You set a table for me right in front of my enemies. You bathe my head in oil; my cup is so full it spills over! Yes, goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the Lord’s house as long as I live.

Psalm 23

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When I was a little girl I had a map of the world on the wall right next to my bed. As I went to sleep my parents would leave the door ajar, so some light came in from the hallway… enough to illuminate the map. I wondered: how can God be everywhere? This is a big world.

I felt lonely sometimes. Scared of the dark. You might know the feeling.

When I felt alone, I would pray. Lots of questions: “Are you up there, God? Are you out there somewhere? Can you stay here with me so I’m not alone?”

As I’ve grown older, I’ve had all kinds of questions about God. There are some things that seem incomprehensible to me. But I have always had a sense that God is, somehow, everywhere all at once. God is with us in the times that we walk through the pleasant valleys. God is with us when we’re lost in the dark and terrified. No matter what happens, God dwells with us and will not leave us.

Caela Simmons Wood

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Ever-present-God, thank you for sticking with me. It’s so good to have you as a companion when things are going well… and I’m sure you know that I really count on you when things are terrible. Help me to remember that you walk with me always and that I am never alone. Amen.

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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!).

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