The Good Shepherd

SheepMe looking for my shepherd like…

My friend and I were invited to church today. I really don’t go to church as often as I should and I didn’t want to disappoint the person who invited us, so to church we went! It actually was quite a good service. The pastor used the 23rd Psalm to kick off his sermon and then launched into the characteristics of a shepherd and sheep.  Of course the shepherd in this context is the Lord and the sheep would be us humans.  He said a shepherd is supposed to provide for you, protect you, love you, care for you when you are sick and so forth. Sounds like a good man, right? Lol. Tell me that crossed your mind too. Instantly my friend turned to me.

Friend: Shamieka…

*We exchanged knowing looks and laughed*

Pastor: Amen

Me and friend: AMEN!!!!! (in unison)

Yes, we need to get our acts together. There we are in church and totally twisting the lesson for our own (way off) interpretation lol but for real though, aren’t those some great qualities for a partner? I mean, we aren’t asking for too much, right? The Lord sees and knows that the struggle is real for us females. I’m knocking on 30’s door and I’m still in the wilderness looking out for a good shepherd. And trust me, I’ve been out there waaaaay longer than forty days and forty nights. Not to say persons haven’t crossed my path, but, hmm…

Perhaps in this case it’s the shepherd who’s lost and not the sheep (me), so if you happen to see my shepherd wandering around out there, please point him in my direction so we can head to the path of righteousness. Good shepherd, where art thou? BAAAAAAAA!

Not to worry, we paid attention to everything else in the service and took from it the meaning that we were supposed to. I think we’ll be making more frequent trips to church. 🙂

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Sitting in Church

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I was sitting in church yesterday and quite a few thoughts crossed my mind. I ended up going because my friend was a guest speaker and invited me to come and listen to his sermon. He did very well and made it interesting by using his experiences to make it more relatable and interesting. It is commendable when young people are so heavily invested in church. Truth is I don’t attend church as often as I should. You know when you’re there and you see people swaying and seeming to really feel the hymns being sung, and appear as though they’re genuinely moved and enjoying the service? They can also offer an ‘Amen’ and ‘That’s right’ here and there while the pastor is preaching.  I would love to be at that point and enjoy church the way I see persons around me enjoying it, but I have to admit that right now I’m just not there yet. I believe in God, I pray every day, I’m thankful for my blessings and I acknowledge that in prayer, so don’t jump to any conclusions here.

I find that when I’m in church I tend to not focus as I should. Same thing would happen as I sat in my lectures in university, but I still did well. I put in the work when I got home and just soaked up everything I needed to. I sit in church with all intentions of really paying attention and I do start out focusing, but every now and then I drift to someplace else, or maybe the pastor says something and has gone on to something else but my mind is still on what was said fifteen minutes back. It’s something I need to work on. I don’t know if I will ever be able to say I actually enjoy church (would be nice) or that I go frequently, but at the end of the day whether I’m sitting in church or at home, wherever I am, my line of communication with God is open. It doesn’t only chip in at church.

During the service it was mentioned that a member had a very sick baby and that the child was given a 50/50 chance to live. Immediately I blocked out what was moved on to next and said a prayer for this baby. It tugged at my heartstrings thinking of what a heartbreaking situation that is. I prayed that he/she would make it and I also prayed for the family who I know must be in such a state right now. Much later on in the service we were led in prayer about it. The lady prayed that God’s will, whatever it is be done, and I don’t think I heard much else after that. I was caught up thinking that I would never want that prayer for my child; that if it is God’s will to take my child that He does that.

Of course I know that our prayers are not always answered and while we may pray that the baby lives, God may still take him/her. As the lady said, it is His will. It didn’t stop me however from continuing along the path of thoughts I was already on (you see here what I mean by drifting during the service). I was thinking to myself that in my earlier prayer I didn’t ‘give God the option’ of taking the child’s life. I prayed with everything in me that He would spare this poor baby’s life and I started wondering, if this was her child, could she so easily ‘give God an option?’ Is she only saying this because it is what is expected to be said in such a setting and what we are taught in relation to God; that we should release our desires and be open to what is in store? It’s so easy to say, “Oh God, let Your will be done,” but had she been at the hospital over her own child would she be able to tell God to take the baby if He saw it fit, or would she pray with every fibre of her being that He spare her child? These are the types of thoughts that cross my mind. I end up on a totally different tangent. How do you feel about it? What would your prayer have been? Actually, I’m asking you to keep that baby in your thoughts and prayers, so let me adjust that…what IS your prayer?

On a much lighter note, I was observing a family. Yes, there I went getting distracted again. There was a mother and father, and their teenage son and daughter. I was thinking how nice it is that they all attend church together as a family, and from their interactions they seemed loving. I was looking at them and likening them to the Brady bunch but something struck me. There were tattoos lining the boy’s arms; both arms. Don’t get me wrong, tattoos are neither here nor there to me but he seemed around fourteen or fifteen so I was quite surprised to see that at such a young age he had tattoos and to such a great extent. I was thinking to myself that his parents probably weren’t too pleased about it. My Brady bunch image of the family was about to be shattered even further and my surprise at this young boy’s extensive tattoos was short lived, because when the service was over I got a good look at the mother from the front. Her nicely tailored jacket I was admiring from the back gave way for a bustier type top underneath that was proudly propping up and displaying her breasts, and over one there sat a tattoo. Lol, yeah I know. There went the image.

That Moment When…

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*Knock knock* You take a look through the window and when you see who’s at your gate you quickly back away and hope they didn’t notice the curtain move.  You then quickly turn down the volume on the television.  Who’s outside?  Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Many of us have done it before.  I most definitely have.  Although I’m guilty of doing this and here I am making jokes about it, I actually admire these persons and the lengths that they go to in order to spread the word about their religion.  They don’t just sit within the walls of their churches as many of us belonging to other religions do.  No, they’re out there walking the streets in the scorching hot sun.  They know the difficulty they will encounter in getting a listening ear but they go at it all the same.  They’re in our neighbourhoods, at the supermarkets, the malls.  They miss no opportunity to educate us.  They’re ready to talk to you and are armed with copies of The Watchtower to share with anyone willing to take them.  I also admire the Mormons for their dedication to spreading the word, riding up and down on their bicycles.

After reading this, Father Ho Lung and the Brothers may come to mind and you of course think they deserve to be mentioned.  They certainly do!  I am not taking away credit from other religious groups.  My reference to Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons was because they immediately come to mind as we encounter them on a frequent basis.  They try to meet us where we are by making themselves present and very visible.  Who else appears at your gate to speak about their beliefs?

I give credit where credit is due.  Father Ho Lung and the Brothers of the Poor have been a staple in our society for years.  No one can deny how active they are and how much they do, particularly when you think of their work with the poor in Jamaica.  I remember getting the opportunity to meet Father Ho Lung.  I was with my mother in the departure lounge and we went over to him because my mother couldn’t pass up the opportunity to say hello to this great man and acknowledge all the good he does.  She also didn’t miss her chance to drop in that she always likes to see him doing the butterfly at the end of his shows lol.

To all those dedicated to a good cause, whether it be of a religious nature or some other area, keep at it.  The race is not for the swift but for those who can endure it.