Are All Shepherds
by Rev. Barry
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are all shepherds. A shepherd to me is someone who is gentle,
kind, thoughtful and compassionate. Someone who would risk his
or her life for another. A shepherd loves and respects all living
have been given a sacred trust. We have been made caretakers of
what must be one of the most diverse and beautiful places in the
universe. Ancient peoples recognized this trust and accepted it.
They spoke of mother earth and treated their mother with the utmost
of respect and love.
we have dominion over all living things. The test of our ability
as the shepherd comes from how we use it. As a race, we have failed
to show the qualities of the shepherd. Many look upon nature as
an adversary to be bent to our will. We have worked very hard
to isolate ourselves from the natural world. In doing so, we have
also removed ourselves from an important connection to our Mother,
has not always been that way. Many aboriginal peoples believed
that all things had a spirit - the trees, the animals, the rocks,
the wind - all things. They did not own property because how could
another own a living thing and in truth the concept of ownership
was not well developed in their society.
New Brunswick, when the Mi=kmaq killed a moose, it was done with
great respect. Thanks was given for they recognized that this
animal had given its life for their continued existence. They
killed only when their was need and they used everything. From
a moose, they ate the meat; they used the hide for clothing and
leather; the brain was used for tanning hides; the bones became
tools; the powdered hoofs were used as a cure for epilepsy; the
antlers were used for medicine; the gut made snowshoe bindings
and thread for sewing; the long hairs on the chin were used for
embroidery; and the shin bones were used to make dice.
the pioneers who fought nature had an understanding of their connection
to it. They believed that God had placed plants on the earth for
man's benefit and to determine the use of the plant you had merely
to look at it. This was known as the Doctrine of Signatures. A
plant that looked like the heart was good for heart ailments.
of these peoples drew their survival directly from their environment.
The aboriginal people and the pioneers recognized the source for
their continued physical existence. It was mother earth. Being
practical, they understood that they were connected to that source
and to abuse it put it and them at risk. They could not have imagined
how far from that source we could move nor how much at risk we
could place our world.
we can be overwhelmed by the size of environmental issues. Not
only are they difficult to understand but we feel helpless to
do anything to resolve them. The journey to change begins with
the first step. I have seen ants move what to them would be mountains
of soil, one grain at a time. Let us approach environmental issues
like the ant. Let us be conscious and aware. Let us become informed.
Why don't we do what we can do. For example, do not to be discouraged
into inaction about all the Styrofoam cups in the world destroying
our ozone layer and contributing to the development of cancer
in our unborn children. Just don=t buy that cup of coffee in a
Styrofoam cup, and share your feelings with others.
what you can do today. The path is made of many small steps. If
you do not start being a shepherd for this imperiled earth now
when will the journey begin and how will you finish the task?
do not believe that we will destroy our planet because I see the
signs of change all around. Change for the good will only happen
if each of us does our small part. Together we are legion and
we will succeed. When I look at the beauty of a sunset or marvel
at a flower, I want to know that today I have done what I can
do to ensure that this miracle we call home with all of its diversity
is in the hands of love. I want to know that the good shepherd
in all of us has been awakened and that we have nurtured our home
until it is green again.
are all shepherds.
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