Monday, December 19, 2011

A Shepherd's Prayer

I wrote and performed this as the homily for Epiphany's Christmas Pageant on December 18, 2011
The angel said not to be afraid, but I'm terrified.  I keep thinking about my children, and what this will mean for them.  I've seen false messiahs, I've seen people get excited and hopeful and then their hopes are dashed in a bloodbath.  I don't want this to be like that, and if it's going to be like that then I want no part of it. 

But I never saw an angel for any of those other messiahs.  It was such a beautiful and clear night, and we were sitting around and talking about the stars, and what we saw in t hem. If they brought good fortune or bad, if there would be love and marriages and properity for our families this year.  And then it was just light and wings all of a sudden, and a loud noise that sounded like music and yet said words--"Fear not."  But we were afraid, and shaking and on our knees.  Except the sheep--the sheep weren't afraid.  They just acted like nothing was strange, like they see angels every day.  Maybe they do. And the angel said he brought the good news of hte savior, and sent uns into the town to go look for the baby, and the baby was there. 

I want to believe, and I want it to be different this time. And it's never been a baby before, with those other messiahs. there was something in that mother's face, too, that Miriam of Nazareth. When we told her what the angel said to us, she didn't seem surprised.  It was like she already knew.  Maybe she saw the angel, too.

This child is different. This child is the one. 

The angel said to go tell everyone what I've seen, but I'm not much of a talker.  I'm just a shepherd. I take care of sheep, and I've never aspired to anything else.  I don't teach in synagogues, I'm not a rabbi, I'm  not even a man. But I'm going to tell mysisters. And the other families who have sheep with us. And if we have a visitor stay with us from far away, I will tell them, too. Maybe they'll believe me.  I will try, and I will do what the angel said.

Glory to you God, for this gift.  if you have truly brought us messiah, I am living in the most important moment for our people in a thousand years.  If that baby can bring peace to all people, please give him the strength to do so. I will help, in whatever way I can. Because I am tired of war, and I am tired of being oppressed. And I am ready for a savior, who will keep my chidren safe. I am ready to follow, Lord, if you will show me the way. Amen. 

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