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Pastoral Reflections- Rev. Robert P. Doner, pastor, Peace United Church of Christ Gladbrook, Iowa

September 13, 2013
Northern-Sun Print
“September Reflections” John Muir wrote, in My First Summer in the Sierra , “As for the shepherd, his case is still worse, especially in the winter when he lives at home in a cabin. For, though stimulated at times by hopes of one day owning a flock and getting rich like the boss, he at the same time is likely to be degraded by the life he leads, and seldom reaches the dignity or advantage-or disadvantage-of ownership. He is solitary most of the year, and solitude to most people seems hard to bear. He seldom has much good mental work or recreation in the way of books. Coming into his dingy hovel-cabin at night, stupidly weary, he finds nothing to balance and level his life with the universe. No, after his dull drag all day with the sheep, he must get his supper; he is likely to slight this task and try to satisfy his hunger with whatever comes handy. Perhaps no bread is baked; then he just makes a few grimy flapjacks in his unwashed frying pan, boils a handful of tea and perhaps a few strips of rusty bacon.” This depiction of a shepherd sends shudders up and down my spine. I surely praise the Gospel accounts of the Christmas shepherds because they don’t present them in such brutal honesty as did Muir! And yet there is a lesson to be learned here; for September is a time to contemplate the summer and to prepare for the fall. I think James, brother of Jesus, who wrote, in James 3:13:”Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom.” Now James professed that not only are we saved by the grace of God in Christ Jesus but that we acknowledge that awesome gift through a life transformation which visualizes God’s grace and love through our “works”, our labors. In life we need everyone to give of themselves as they have been blessed and gifted by God because none of us can exist solely on our own. I hope the energies you’ve spent to relax this summer have given you the renewed energy to be dynamic as you return to “the grind”. And, I pray, that you have gained wisdom and understanding in the joy of your summer activities-so that your life, refreshed, is lived well and your works are attended to with gentleness and compassion.

Yours in Christ, Pastor Bob



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