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Courage say Jesus – do not be afraid

Today we gather in the beautifully refurbished church – here in the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd is a wonderful name for a church and a parish.  Lovely image of God –  a God who is caring and compassionate, who seeks out the lost and comforts the injured.   In time I hope that this refurbishment will enable more and more people to come to know Jesus the Good Shepherd.  I hope that this building will draw people to prayer, and worship, I hope that the wonderful community gathered here will be able to continue to grow and flourish.  I hope that coming here for prayer, refuge and liturgy we can go from here and imitate the Good Shepherd in the way we reach out to, and help our brothers and sisters.

The Good Shepherd is a powerful image from the bible – The scriptures today give us many other beautiful images of our caring and loving God.  Today we hear Jesus say  -  “Courage, it is I do not be afraid”.

I need courage, I need to hear those words many times  “Do not be afraid”

There are times when like Peter I sink, when I struggle and cry out “Lord Save me” – but I know that the Lord will be there to reach out and hold me and guide me along the right path.  God is there for all of us if we take time to trust in God and Listen to God.  It is difficult in our busy noisy world to listen to the comforting words of God.  But our first reading gives us the lovely description – that God was not in the big wind, or the earthquake or in the fire – but in the gentle breeze, in the silence.  I pray that each of us will continue to grow in Gods love by taking time to listen in the silence. Through that listening we can got to really know that God is there, The God reaches out and says Courage, Be Not Afraid.

In the middle of a dark winter’s night, the two-story home of a young family caught fire. Quickly, parents and children made their way through the smoke-filled home out into the front garden. There the father quickly counted heads and realized that their 5 year-old son was not among them. Suddenly he heard a wail and looked up to see the boy at his bedroom window, crying and rubbing his eyes. Knowing the danger of re-entering the house to rescue his son, the father called, “Jump, Son! I’ll catch you!”  Between sobs, the boy responded to the voice he knew so well. “But, I can’t see you, Daddy!” The father answered with great assurance. “No, Son, you can’t see me, but I can see you! Jump!” At that, the boy jumped into the smoky darkness and found himself safely cradled in his father’s arms. Our scripture today is about trusting – about having faith – about being able to discern the fact that our God is with us.

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