My first notions of the spirit world came not from the Bible, but from 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey, a collection of ghost stories written by Kathryn Tucker Windham and Margaret Gillis Figh. When I was in fourth grade I gave a report on this book.
The Augusta Victoria Hospital sits on the highest point of the Mount of Olives, one of the sites claimed to be the place from which Jesus ascended into heaven. Administered by the Lutheran World Federation, hospital staff serve Palestinians who are living in the midst of occupation.
The people in an Ohio county were angry with the area’s red foxes because they had eaten some of the people’s domestic chickens and many of the wild quail. So 600 men, women and children formed a circle five miles across, walked through the woods and frightened the foxes out into the open by shouting. Inside of a shrinking circle the foxes ran about in panic, exhausting themselves.
I’ve always been challenged by the lectionary readings for this Sunday. Although both Psalm 23 and John refer to Jesus the Shepherd and us as sheep, I live in New York City, and as far as I can tell, even the Sheep Meadow in Central Park has no sheep. Yet we sing Psalm 23 each year on this Sunday and at countless other times in convalescent homes and at gravesides.