A Shepherd’s Prayer

Dots of white are scattered ‘cross the hillside.

Flocks of souls are grazing as they roam.

.

Left of here lie cliffs along the ocean.

Misty winds there keep the grass

A lush and tempting green.

.

To our right, the burning Eastern Desert

Lies just in sight beyond the rolling hills.

.

To our south, dark jungle-lands,

With swamps, and bogs and ponds.

And northward, see the lands climb up

To jagged rocky heights of mountains cold.

.

The sheep have all been gathered here

By shepherds wise and old.

These men have known the dangers

West, and east, south and north.

.

Though gathered here, each year

The flock is losing many sheep.

The older shepherds tire

And begin to look to me

And all my kin to take the torch.

.

And as I survey out across

The scenery of these moors.

I quickly come to realize,

That I cannot do this task that lies before.

.

In my brief, short time of training

As a shepherd/sheep for God,

I’ve seen, heard, and observed,

Some shifting patterns in the flock.

.

My calling is to help them feed

On Grass of Truth from God,

Seems simple, and it is.

Simple, yes. But easy? Not.

.

Every place I look

There are other tempting grasses,

Grasses I must first resist,

Then lead them on in trust to do the same.

.

Some sheep strangely wander

To the Desert of the Right.

They find a curious comfort

In the heat and burning light.

.

They go there for the leaders of that place

Are loud and strong.

They talk and shout about pure grass.

But little grass is grown.

.

The burden there of growing

Tends to weigh and burden down.

The sheep end up assigned great work

Which sheep were not designed to do.

And never will get done.

.

Many sheep are also lost

Along the Cliffs of Left.

The heights are risky, edgy,

And uncertain for the hoof.

.

But sheep will brave them merely

For the tasty grass afoot.

Not knowing that the grass is lush

Because the shifting tides and winds and mists –

Which will trap them, get them lost, or worse

Push them to their deaths –

Are the reason for the green.

.

Still other sheep,

While not sucumbing to the Left or Right,

Will sneak down from these foothills

To the Southern Jungle’s Night.

.

Here, they play their chicken games

With predators and snakes,

Feeding on the thrills and spills,

The Jungle’s lethal stakes.

.

It usually isn’t long before

A trap or snare is sprung,

Some poison is consumed,

Or a fatal blow is blown.

.

Far too rare is ever seen,

An injured sheep along the path,

Making his repentant, long, return.

.

And let us not forget the dangers

Lying to the north.

The Ivory Tower Mountains

Have the strangest of appeals.

.

The sheep who leave the flock

To take these long and winding roads,

Often feel that they’ve outgrown

Their need of shepherds on their own.

.

They hope to find a higher grass

That, when eaten, thus will grant

A new place of authority,

A higher “sheep-hood” than the rest.

.

This strange allure of knowing more,

On scientific heights,

Often decimates the finder’s sense

Of belonging in the flock.

.

It is not easy, as a shepherd,

Caring for your sheep,

Knowing all these dangers,

And the pressures that they bring.

.

The anchor in the chaos

Is the grass beneath our feet.

While not quite as appealing

As some other dainty treats,

This grass here on the Hills of Grace

Is managed, not by temptors,

But by God, the Lord on High.

.

The grass here, takes some work to find,

And tastes of bitter tones by times.

It lacks the pleasant, sugar coating

Many sheep now crave and hope to find.

.

But, tasting as it does by times,

The grass here is the Truth of Life,

It’s loaded up with vitamins,

And healthy stuff inside.

.

And comforting to me,

One called to watch over this flock,

To make sure that they feed and grow,

To keep them safe and strong,

Is that this grass is guaranteed,

A covenant confirms its seed

And it will never fail.

.

There will never, ever be a need

To wander south, north, west or east,

In search of better, surer feed.

.

So while I rightly bear the weight

Of shepherding a flock,

The weight is never solely mine,

For Christ still Shepherds me,

.

Promised in this grass we eat,

Is health, and life, and joy and peace.

On grace and mercy now we feast,

With need of nothing else.

.

So my prayer is simply this,

As sheep and shepherd both,

Follow Christ as I do,

Though, imperfectly at best;

.

Trust in Him to meet our needs,

And stay here with the flock;

Feed and grow together,

On these rolling Hills of Grace.

.

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About Kevin Burrill

A Christian, a pastor, a widower, a husband, a father, a thinker, a worshipper, and a teacher - simply seeking to know my God more and more along the journey, and hoping that what I'm learning will impact others as I'm finding out His greatness. View all posts by Kevin Burrill

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