Vocation Sunday and Good Shepherd Sunday have marvelous readings today. I proclaimed the second one tonight at mass. As I had prepared earlier in the day, the final words spoke to me: …now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your soul. I love that image! I smile thinking that God is the Guardian of my soul. I am in very good hands. The Good Shepherd discourse continues with the insight that the One-in-Charge knows each member of the flock by name. The Shepherd goes ahead of us and we follow at the sound of the voice that calls us.
As my 56th birthday ends, I take comfort in knowing that my soul is guarded well by a Shepherd who has an intimate relationship with me, leading me with a solid staff and a tender heart. This is a God who knows me through and through, and calls me by name, not some distant deity who is clueless about who I am and what I need. This is the Guardian of my soul to whom I will return when my time here on earth is done. My brother introduced me to a song the other night that made me weep with joy. Ed Sheeran’s song SuperMarket Flowers has these lyrics in it, captures the essence of Soul-Guardian:
Spread your wings as you go, when God takes you back
He’ll say, “Hallelujah, you’re home.”
This is the One who Knows, the One who Awaits our souls to welcome them home. I welcome this gift of a new year. I had not expected to still be here and to be functioning fairly well so I raise my Hallelujah too each morning I awaken. I also know that one day, probably sooner than most of you, I will spread my wings and fly heavenward, to be greeted by the Guardian of my Soul and we will rejoice together because I will be Home. I hope you will rejoice too when that day comes, knowing that I am in the arms of my Beloved, at my final and most desired destination of this grand adventure of life.
Until then, I am very grateful for the opportunity to still enjoy life, to love and be loved, to marvel at the wonders each day brings, and to see another year unfold. I look forward to serving this Good Shepherd and following wherever I am led in whatever time is granted me. The love received last year at my big Freedom 55 birthday bash continues on a smaller, more intimate scale. I am part of an amazing flock that makes me happy. Thank you for that, my dear friends. I go to bed with a full heart.
What does it mean to you that God is the Guardian of your soul?
With what words might God usher you Home?
Soul-Guardian, who sings Hallelujah upon greeting, you are abundant love. You gather your flock, call each one of us by name and lead us home. You watch over us each and every moment of the day, hovering nearby, protecting us from the thief who wishes to steal, kill and destroy. Thank you for your abiding care. Amen.