An Advent reflection by Philip Hardwill.
Micah 5:4 And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great
to the ends of the earth;
Here in rural Dorset, this phrase means so much to everybody around us.
Our farmers working hard amidst rain and snow to provide the food that our ever-growing population need. Like the original disciples, many of our local farmers were born to the land and have grown up and lived much of their lives locally. Doing the daily work, planting and seeding crops, nurturing and caring for their herds, broods and flocks, in a similar way to the way in which Jesus nurtured his flock and encouraged his followers to grow.
Jesus never stopped trying to teach, or to encourage his flock. His patience was infinite, as our farmers discover theirs is often required to be.
Following another year of great uncertainty, unknown economic changes, restrictions that we did not like and freedoms that we could not be confident with. We have been given the chance to ensure our future, and the future of our children and descendants, is better than the recent past.
Let us work together to grow our faith not only for ourselves. Jesus has given us the lead, let us see if we can follow in his footsteps, encouraging those around us and those who are to follow us. Locally, let us encourage and grow community and care, caring for and loving those around us.
Loving Father, thank You for Your Word and the truth it contains. Thank You that You have not forsaken us. Thank You that although I was far off from You and without hope in the world, You reached down in Your goodness and grace to be my good Shepherd, so that by grace through faith in Christ I might receive reconciliation; redemption; the forgiveness of sin and life everlasting. Praise Your holy name, Amen.
Share your joy in the love of Christ by making time to speak to a friend you have not contacted for a while or by visiting a neighbour who you have not seen recently.