Straying from the Path

Again and again, you called us to return. Through prophets and sages you revealed your righteous Law. And in the fullness of time you sent your only Son, born of a woman, to fulfill your Law, to open for us the way of freedom and peace.

 On the Heifer farm in Rutland, Massachusetts, I stood outside the barn with my arms spread wide, part of a human channel leading to the grassy meadow. Thirty of us formed the path to get the goats from barn to grassy meadow in the morning and meadow to sheltering barn in the evening. But there were always a good number of goats who darted off toward the rocks or pig barn. A few even headed for the visitor center, apparently seeing something on the steps or dirt driveway that looked better than a meadow full of grass to eat or a comfortable spot in the barn. Young and old, they strayed off the path that led to food and shelter; young and old, they ran toward things that could hurt them. But they weren’t left wandering into the unknown: they were gently nudged, sometimes even carried, back to green meadows and the rest of the herd.

People standing together, forming a path toward what feeds the soul and shelters the spirit – I think it’s a wonderful image for understanding the prophets and saints we find in scripture, tradition, and walking the earth with us. They give us direction and guidance, a path for God’s flock to walk. When we stray, they gently nudge us back home.

I am grateful.

[For full prayer, click Prayer C above.]

sagebush

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Johnna

I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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