Advent Day Six

“Today we remember the shepherds among us, back-breaking laborers on whom our economy stands, those we overlook or rarely see, yet rely on for our very survival, the ones who have much to teach us about watching for God in the darkness.”


The candle-lighting liturgy for this coming Sunday speaks of the gritty and dusty work of the shepherds.  Through the liturgy we honor them and the many in our midst who work in often non-glamorous conditions to tend essentials.

Tonight is our church staff party.  We’ll gather at my home to eat and play together.  This is good.

This is good because, like the shepherds of long ago, our staff does sometimes invisible and non-glamorous work day after day in order that “the flock” is fed and watered.

To a person they are amazing grace.

Working in the fields of this church are people who engage in ministry with people of all ages, people who polish and make ready the ministry tool that is our building, people who pray with the sick and keep our finances in such a way that empowers ministry and people who help to share the Word through clear communication and shimmering music.  There are some 50 children blessed by the ministry of our child learning center Caring For Children.  Day after day, seven days a week, Richfield UMC is tended by amazingly patient and soulful shepherds.

So tonight we’ll celebrate and give thanks for our shared ministry.

As I’ve ironed table cloths (a family sickness) and made ready my home, I have given thanks for each staff person who ministers on this stretch of field.  I feel so blessed to be in ministry with incredible colleagues.

You have such people in your life.

As you live this Advent day of heart preparation, may you too know the gift of naming those who work with you in order that tending happens.

Give thanks on this day for the co-shepherds in your life:  partners and friends and co-workers and anyone who joins their heart with your own in order that light shines in the darkness.

Give thanks and thank them;  thank them for being by your side as you go about the sometimes boring and non-glamorous work that is uniquely yours to do.

On this day and on all days, give thanks for those who help us to watch for God in the darkness.

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