Hello friends of the Good Shepherd,
Below are some thoughts for today. They includes thoughts from a book of daily meditations that is entitled “Peace in Our Hearts Peace in the World” by Ruth Fishel and some of my own thoughts. Also, I am now including a daily invitation to meditation to center ourselves in God’s loving presence.  At the bottom of the page there are some church reminders and notes. 

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.”
by Helen Keller

Reflection by Ruth Fishel:
There are times when it is difficult to get over a bad mood or get through a difficult time. Sadness lingers. Fear or self-pity keeps returning. We pray and meditate, talk to a spiritual advisor or sponsor or do any one of a number of things, that friends advise us to do and that have worked in the past. But there are times when it is difficult to feel peaceful, no matter what we do.
Maybe its the fault of a full moon, or maybe someone looked at us the wrong way. Perhaps its hormones, or our beloved pet has died. Perhaps we feel disconnected from our Higher Power or have had a disagreement with our best friend.
We may think that if we “do the right things” we’ll feel good. This just isn’t always true. Life has it’s ups and downs, storms and rainbows, floods and droughts, births and deaths. Even the most beautiful rose bushes lose their blossoms.
How, then, do we get through the down days, the dark times in our lives? By hanging in. By praying and meditating. By knowing that nothing is permanent and change is inevitable. By knowing that, we can handle anything for one moment, for one hour, for one day. By putting all our problems in God’s hands.
By having faith that this, too, shall pass.
 

My thoughts:
The quote above from Helen Keller is an important reminder to all of us. Though it is true that the world is full of suffering, it is equally true that the world is full of the overcoming of suffering. Whenever we are in the middle of a crisis, there are many people who believe the world is coming to an end or that God is punishing us for one thing or another. People have recently said these things to me. 

The world is not coming to an end. This is not the first crisis the world has had to face. It is certainly a difficult crisis and we need to take it seriously, but there have been others. I immediately think of the attacks of 911, when we didn’t feel safe even in our own homes. There have been devastating flu outbreaks and historical plagues. There has been the threat of the ebola virus. There was the death and devestation associated with World War I and World War II. No, the world is not coming to an end. We have overcome these terrible moments in human history and we will overcome this terrible health crisis as well. We will overcome it, with God’s guidance and support.

Also, God is not punishing us through COVID-19. This is not God’s doing. God loves. God creates. God does not hate and destroy. Disease is part of life on the earth and we all are susceptible to it, regardless of our moral actions. God isn’t punishing us with this virus. If this were true than God’s love would be conditional, which would mean that God’s love would not be pure. God did not create this health crisis or any other crisis we have faced personally or as a people. Rather, God is with us and helping us to overcome it. God is loving us and inspiring us to find ways to treate those who are suffering. God is shining rays of light and hope through the acts of love and kindness people are showing one another. God is planting seeds of light and hope that soon this darkness will begin to give way. Yes, we will overcome this disease, with God’s guidance and support.

Please keep all those suffering witth COVID-19 and their loved ones in your prayers. Please keep all healthcare workers and staff in your prayers. Please keep in your prayers those who are working in our grocery stores, pharmacies and other essential services. 

Meditation Practice:
There is so much noise out there in the world. Let us take 5-10 minutes today to be silent.

Turn off the noise of your televisions, radios, phones and other electronic devices.

Be silent, be still and be centered in God…….

Focus on your breathing…. Feel your breath going in and going out….  Listen to the silence…….. Feel your breath going in and going out……. Breathe in peace……… Breathe out anxiety and stress………. Feel the tension within your body melt away with every breath…….. Just breathe….

Allow God’s Love to return to the center of your being…. 

Practice this one or two times a day, or more as needed. Remember, the more you practice this meditation the more effective it can become.

Prayer of Saint Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is discord, union;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that I receive;
it is in pardoning that I am pardoned;
and it is in dying that I am born to eternal life. Amen.

Peace,
  Pastor Dan

A few reminders and notes:
1. We will not be able to worship together in our beloved Good Shepherd church space for several more weeks, this will include Holy Week and Easter. During this time we will continue to provide Facebook Live Services followed by the recorded Services for those not on Facebook. 
Maundy Thursday and Good Friday Services will be held Live at 7pm and the recorded Service will be made available by a link sent to those on our newsletter email list by 8pm.
Easter Service will be held on Facebook Live at 10am and the recorded Service will be made available by a link sent to those on our newsletter email list by 11am.
We will not be physically together, but we continue to be together in spirit.
2. We are continuing our ministry to feed the hungry through Shepherd’s Table by providing takeout meals from 4-5pm on Thursdays.
3. The Food Pantry will be open on Tuesday April 7 from 2-5pm. Food bags will be handed out at the door of the Parish Hall. 
4. If you are able and would like to drop off items for the food pantry, you may do so on Thursday afternoons from 2:00-5:00. We are looking specifically for cereal and for liquid dish soap and laundry detergent (which can be found at the dollar store). Please only shop for the pantry while you are shopping for yourself. Don’t make an extra trip to the store.
5. Please mail in your financial pledge support to the Church (Church of the Good Shepherd, PO Box 719, Wareham, MA 02571), as our bills still need to be paid. Others who would like to make a financial donation can do so on our parish website through PayPal or may mail in the donation to the above address. Thank you!. 

Rev. Dan Bernier