Friday, April 22, 2016

Bishop’s Note: April 21, 2016 “Your goodness and mercy follow me all the days of my life.”

Bishop Eric Menees

Click On Photograph To Enlarge

Photograph Of Endangered Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep
By Father Dale

This last week we celebrated Good Shepherd Sunday. At Christ Church, Lemoore, where I was on Sunday, we used that beautiful hymn of praise known as the 23rd Psalm. This is such a beautiful psalm, written by the Shepherd King from the perspective of a sheep.

As I was doing my study I was captured by verse 6: “Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” What does that mean? God’s goodness isn’t with me now, but follows behind me? The answer, of course, is NO! God’s mercy and goodness are always with us, yet even more than that, His goodness and mercy pursue us.

I once heard John Piper preach on this scripture, and he explained that the Hebrew term (yir·də·p̄ū·nî) used for “follow” actually means to “follow after” or “pursue.” He went on to use this analogy to explain “yir·də·p̄ū·nî.”

Imagine that you have just left the gas station and are driving down the road, when before too long you notice a Sheriff’s Deputy behind you. Before you know it, the red and blue lights come on. Immediately you feel guilty thinking, “What have I done this time?” But, instead of slowing down and moving over, you speed up. All those past tickets run through your head, and even though you know it’s foolish, you go faster and faster; if you pull over you’re going to lose your license, and that vacation to Hawaii with your wife is going down the drain.

When your logic finally overcomes your sense of guilt, you ask yourself: “What am I doing?” and so you pull over.

The Deputy comes up to the car and says, “Man, it’s tough to get your attention. You’re probably wondering why I pulled you over. Well, I noticed that you left your wallet on the counter at the gas station and I knew you’d want it. But you know what, I also noticed that you’d bought that Lotto scratcher sticking out of your wallet – I hope you don’t mind, but I had the clerk scan it and, guess what? You’re a winner! I knew you’d want your wallet & scratcher - so here you go! Hey, have a good day, and next time don’t make it so hard for me to catch you!

Of course, that analogy breaks down if you take too far; but that is what The Good Shepherd does – he pursues us with his goodness and mercy. He desires the very best for his sheep.

My prayer for you and me this week is that we will not make it difficult for the Good Shepherd to catch up with us!

God bless you all!

Catechism Questions: 275-277

275. Why did the nations make such images?

Israel’s neighbors worshiped false gods by means of images, or idols, believing they could manipulate these imaginary gods to gain favor with them. (Isaiah 40:18-26; 44:9-20)

276. Are all carved images wrong?
No. God, who forbids the making of idols and worship of images, commanded carvings and pictures for the Tabernacle. These represented neither God nor false gods, but rather angels, trees, and fruits from the Garden of Eden. (Exodus 37:1-9; 39:22-26; 1 Kings 6:14-19)

277. Are idols always carved images?
No. Relationships, habits, aspirations, and ideologies can become idols in my mind if I look to them for salvation from misery, guilt, poverty, loneliness, or despair. (Ezekiel 14:4-5; Isaiah 2:20; Ephesians 5:2; 1 John 5:21)

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