November 4, 2014

Shepherding 101 by Loretta Goddard

I offer a humble tutorial to those who pastor us, who shepherd us:

By daily example and with each sermon, 
help us to love God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength 
and love our neighbor 
as ourselves.



Remind us of our first love, undiluted, or introduce us for the first time to Jesus our Savior, Friend, and Lover.  Use your staff and rod—a safe and loving presence and correction-- to lead us to green pastures and to quiet waters.  Set a Eucharistic table for us and fill our cups to overflowing—pointing us to the head of the table, the one Good Shepherd.  

Truly love God and truly love us.   



Let it be emotional—touch us in a 
way that stirs our joy, peace, or excitement—our happy hours. Address our sadness, fear, and confusion—our dark nights.  Allow for reciprocity of empathy from you to us and us to you.  Take out the burrs from our wool and thorns from our feet—groom us.  Know us.  Help us to navigate the valley of the shadows, the liminal wilderness, and to appreciate the mountain ascent.  

Intercede for us.


Study every week in God’s word and in resources you’ve never studied before to bring our minds something true and helpful.  Introduce several things each sermon that you may have never known or said before and that better lead us to understand the times and places, the anthropology, philology, biology, sociology, archeology, epistemology, cosmology, and psychology—all integrated to our heart, soul, strength, and love for God.  

Teach us.



Apply it to our daily experience.  Help us know how to use our muscles to assimilate what you have taught us.   Tell us what this looks like in practice—in our homes and workplaces, grocery stores and barber shops, around a campfire and in front of our computer screens and TVs, at movie theaters, funerals, and parties.  

Challenge us.


Help us to know and remember who our neighbor is.  Provide illustrations that demonstrate what it is to love someone as much as we love ourselves.  Convince us of the importance of this.  Give us practical opportunities to be a loving spouse, parent, friend, and neighbor in our parish and in our world.   

Show us.


Help us to tend to ourselves—to be self-aware.  Guide us in knowing that God does not want us to annihilate who he has made each of us to be—but rather it is expected that we will care for ourselves, our bodies, souls, and spirits. It is in receiving and possessing our new-creation identity, our true self, from the one true God who is Love, and the example of the dance of the Trinity, that our self-giving love has an origin.  

Attend to your family and yourself.

I dedicate this post to my husband, Hule Goddard, who is my pastor and has been an example of this kind of shepherding to me and so many others for the past 36 years!

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