Music That Moves: The King of Love My Shepherd Is

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 My post today is part of a series by Allison Gingras featuring a number of amazing Catholic women bloggers on the music by Sarah Kroger.  For this and more in this series, continue to check back at Reconciled to You each week during Advent. 

The Love of a Father

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What is it about the image of a lowly shepherd that instills in us a reminder of the love of our Father, the king of all love? Throughout scripture, from Genesis to Romans, this is the picturesque scene that tells of the wandering in our lives, and the constant guiding hand and voice that leads us.

The One who is the gatekeeper, and who does not passively watch over but continually seeks after each one of us.  John 10:2-4

In a beautiful contemporary rendition of this traditional hymn Sarah Kroger offers a very moving refrain from the sheep’s perspective. For, if  you “knew that Jesus is your shepherd..How could your heart ever turn away?” And still we do, but when we do we are not met with anger or unforgiveness but instead with love and mercy.

“Confused and foolish I have strayed but yet in love he sought me”.  Luke 15:3-7

Poignantly, I understand this scripture passage all too well in the challenging life decisions of my oldest son. Troubled and looking for an easy way, his choices have led him to a life and a path that we most certainly would not have chosen for him. Unable to truly feel God’s love and seeking consolation in a myriad of unsteady friends, alcohol and drugs he wanders. Unable to hear the Shepherd’s voice for the loud din of the world, he finds himself walking in circles with no discernible signposts.

All the while God is calling and seeking to draw him close.

I nothing lack if I am His..

“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want… Psalm 23:1 Wants and needs, I think of this often in my own daily choices. Are my wants, His wants and my needs one and the same? A shepherd provides for the basic needs of his flock, guards for their protection, and tends to what is best for each of them. If my wants are in line with Christ, then I will lack nothing that I need.

His Goodness faileth never..

Allowing God to lead does not mean that we will not know sorrow or difficulties. Rather, in our distress, we are given hope and comforted by His immeasurable love. Momentary emptiness, replaced and surmounted by a once inconceivable peace. At the apex of seeming despair over seeking to help my oldest son, I found peace. Through tears,and surrender I found hope.

“You are my song and strength”

Why do we sing His praise? Because we recognize “that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves”. Psalm 100:3 Humbly, and awestruck we stand in the His presence and in gratitude for His love we sing of all that he has done for us. Oh, how he longs to be our shepherd and for us to be His people. If “today, (we) would (but) hear His voice”. Psalm 95:7

“Home rejoicing brought me” …”You are mine forever”

Our earthly existence here is a temporary place, but the home with God that awaits is a forever home. All of our time spent grazing,wandering away from, and running to the shelter of His love will come to a rest one day. It is a time that I seek, pray and strive towards, and like a child joyfully anticipate.  In Christ,  “I am convinced that neither death nor life… nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39.

This is the promise and care of the King of Love That My Shepherd Is! 

Reflect: How is God both King and Shepherd in my life today?

Peace,
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Music that Moves Us: Take Me by Ben Walther

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(This post is part of a series to be found at ReconciledtoYou.com hosted by Allison Gingras featuring the music of Ben Walther. For other bloggers and songs check out #MusicthatMoves)

“Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, All I have and call my own. You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me.”       – Sucipe, St. Ignatius of Loyola

The first time I heard this beautiful song by Ben Walther, I instantly recognized its Ignatian underpinnings. The Sucipe prayer by St. Ignatius is one that, as with Ben, speaks profoundly to a need in my own life- a need for surrender. A need to relinquish any misconceptions or desires to control situations, or cling to any gifts that I have received in my life.

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”Romans 12:1

Understanding that all that I have or am comes from God does not imply a lifetime warranty or use thereof. Rather, it is accepting each gift or grace for the limited time that it may be given to me and expressing my heartfelt gratitude in these moments.Be prepared for surprises too, for God is the ultimate giver and will not be undone in love or mercy. Perhaps you have yet to discover a particular talent within, or a way to use that talent. Not to worry, when needed God will seek to bring forth the best use of that gift. All he asks of us is to “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning” Luke 12:35

God is calling us to be transformed- ready to be moved, to follow his lead and this entails letting go. Trusting that even in the most uncertain times, that the One with the map will guide and accompany us each step along the way. And sometimes we may become so certain of our place in life, of our abilities or lack of,  that we cannot see the greater opportunities he has in store. We resist taking on this new perspective, and in doing so become fearful of losing what was never ours to lay claim to in the first place.Detachment then from all that impedes our following God’s will is so essential in our discipleship.

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25

A once in a lifetime decision to follow Christ? Not hardly.  It is a daily turning of heart and surrendering of self (body and soul) to Christ that is being asked of us. In our doubt and trials as well as in our faith and joys our Risen Lord asks for our trust, our will, our understanding -our all.

For, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Galatians 2:20

What is promised through surrender?

There is much peace in actively and fully surrendering. In knowing, that He is God and we are not. In allowing God to be the primary mover in all that we do. In this invitation of surrender, and petition for direction we continually experience his unfailing love.

Father, when my own steps are unsure or I seek to better secure the path ahead please lead me on. For those times I rest in the grace that surrounds me when you are asking me to move, help me to find my security in you. All I am and do are because of You- and this life I live is Yours. Take All of Me.

Reflection:What if we each held onto the life we are living presently? Would we be able for God to move us where he wanted us to be..would the safety we feel be worth the treasure that awaits?