..The Intuitive Times
Connecting With Nature


We Are All Shepherds

by Rev. Barry King

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We 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 things.

We 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.

Today, 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, Father, God.

It 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.

In 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.

Even 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.

Both 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.

Often 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.

Do 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?

I 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.

We are all shepherds.

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