Season after Pentecost | All Saints Day (Year A)
Revelation 7:9-17; Psalm 34:1-10, 22; 1 John 3:1-3; Matthew 5:1-12
The prayers of the people call us. When we answer, we invite the possibility that it is we who will be poor, hungry, sick, and in prison.
“You, Lord, are both Lamb and Shepherd.” So begins “Christus Paradox,” a hymn penned by Sylvia Dunstan more than three decades ago. According to notes on the hymn text, Dunstan first scribbled down the lyrics--rich with paradoxical, tension-laden images of Jesus--while she rode the bus home after a difficult day of prison chaplaincy.
A shepherd’s staff has a crook for drawing the sheep away from danger, and a blunt end for prodding them toward places they would rather not go. This week’s texts embrace the tension between the two in the shepherd’s role.