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  • Apr17Tue

    For You are With Me

    April 17, 2018 Pastor Eric Groot-Nibbelink
    Last Sunday I led the service in Chatham Grace CR Church.  Featured in the service was their boy’s club: it was Cadet Sunday.  The suggested scripture worked with the God-as-shepherd image in the Bible, namely from Ezekiel 34:11  “For this is what the Sovereign Lord says:  I myself will search for my sheep and look after them.”  There are many examples of that image at work in the Bible, maybe three of the strongest instances are found in Ezekiel 34, John 10 and the well-known poem, Psalm 23.  A powerful phrase that occurs right in in the middle of Psalm 23 reads “FOR YOU ARE WITH ME.”  The placement of that line in the psalm reflects what is often the case in Hebrew poetry in the Bible: the most important thought or idea of the poem (psalm) is at the very center.  What we carry with us in the very center of our lives is the knowledge that God is with us.  Times of joy or times of challenge, we say “FOR YOU ARE WITH ME.”  Last week we all heard of the horrific and unimaginable news of the crash of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team bus and the loss of life of over half of its occupants, most of the victims being under 20 years of age.  There are no simple ways to understand this crash.  We are short of words to explain.  Yet in the aftermath of any crisis, as people of faith belonging to Jesus Christ, we do our best to encourage each other and we cling in hope to that truth at the center of life: FOR YOU ARE WITH ME.  We pray that the presence of the Lord who is our shepherd will be experienced profoundly in Humboldt, Saskatchewan and anywhere in the world today where there is deep grief and loss.