"The Shepherd's Prayer"
It’s still Christmas! And even as most of our neighbors have turned their attention to some form of welcoming the new year, we remain oriented toward welcoming and proclaiming the coming of Jesus into our world.
A long-time friend of mine, the Rev. Dr. David Taylor, recently wrote a few words reflecting on God’s surprising choice of shepherds as those first charged with proclaiming this news:
I realized that what caught my attention about their role in the Nativity story was not, in this case, their actual lives but the absurdly wasteful nature of God's decision to choose them as first messengers.
If God the Father had wanted, he could've hired professional heralds of the empire to announce Jesus' birth. He certainly had the resources at his disposal to generate maximal results from this once-in-a-never-to-be-repeated-event.
But he didn't. He chose a handful of "nobodies" to spread the news….
We are among those “nobodies” God has chosen to spread this news, recipients not only of the message, but of the presence of Jesus himself. Fr. David created a prayer in response to this gift, which reads in part:
May we, like you, delight to give extravagantly of ourselves and of our goods to the least and to the lost… offer[ing] the entire pantry of our lives in joy because we know to whom we belong: to a gracious Father in heaven.
I encourage you to read—and pray—the entirety of “The Shepherd’s Prayer” as you enter into this new year.
Your Pastor in Christ,