Tuesday, February 24, 2009
"Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which Christ bought with his blood." Acts 20:28
The last day of Epiphany, this Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras, is that border moment between plenty and scarcity, between rich and lean times, between light and darkness- all important for our faith development. We live in lean and challenging times when the abundance we once knew as a nation has gone away. We live in times when more and more folks live on the edge, having lost jobs and livelihoods because of others foolishness and greed. Some pay too hefty a price for others' carelessness. This Fat Tuesday, the coming lean times of Lent are only too real. The extras we once took for granted, are now beyond our means. The basics we once thought of as necessities have been whisked out of the budget.
Paul understood that the times when we can revel as people together are short lived. In times when people can gather together we must celebrate, and in all other times we are called to keep watch, to care tenderly for one another and to guard the weak and vulnerable in our midst. When we can rejoice together, we must and when we can no longer rejoice, we must not isolate ourselves but increase our care and interdependence.
This Fat Tuesday, I want to rejoice in the abundance of community that God has provided me with, and to ask for the strength to be a care taker and care giver in the coming days. A shepherds job is not glamorous but rather tedious in its constancy and watchfulness. I ask to be faithful this season in watchfulness, so that the tender, the weak and the vulnerable in my care are guarded from the dangers of the coming days. May we all offer our strength and skills for the care of the least among us. And may God give us the strength to care for each other in these challenging times.