Rohi

[I hesitate when I write blog posts now. I always want to include some sort of faith element or hope at the end, as I did last week, because I know everything’s not lost. However, I worry about publishing a completely positive blog post because I’m worried that it will give the impression that I’m totally fine, when I’m far from it.

Thank you for telling me that I am strong. I suppose, through God, I am, and I’m grateful for the strength He has given me. Whatever you have seen in me is from Him and Him alone. But that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped grieving, that doesn’t mean I don’t still cry myself to sleep some nights, that doesn’t mean I don’t still struggle with bitterness, anger, and doubt towards the God I love. But I do love Him, and I have to write about how He is walking with me right now. Thank you for reading.]

I mentioned briefly in my last post that I’ve been struggling with going to church and finding community. Well, I went to a new church last Sunday, searching for people, and what I got instead was a whopping dose of the Presence drawing near to me.

I was disappointed at first, when I left church without having made any connections or seen anybody my age around. (The people at this church were very nice and welcoming, there was just nobody in my age range that I saw or was able to meet, and I am terrible at sticking around awkwardly afterwards. I’m bad at that even when I’ve been going to the same church for five years.)

Anyway, I didn’t realize until I got home that maybe today wasn’t about finding people, or even finding a home church, it was about me and God.

Because you see, the sermon was about Psalm 23. The church is in a series right now where they are going through the names of God (such a neat idea), and this week the name was Jehovah Rohi, The Lord My Shepherd. And this week, I just happened to walk through their doors to be greeted with the truth that the Lord cares for me as a shepherd cares for his sheep.

You might have noticed that I’ve been very intrigued by this particular psalm lately. In fact, the pastor from my old church in Maryland read my post, “Twenty-three,” and decided to give me a book, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by Phillip Keller. I’ve been in and out of this book for a month now, but I was just in the middle of reading it before I left for church on Sunday. Keller takes apart each sentence of the psalm and discusses the depth of the metaphors (ya’ll know me and my love of metaphors).

But the point of all this was to write about church on Sunday. I’ve been having a really hard time concentrating in church since that day. The sermons make me bitter, and most of the time I just end up flipping through my Bible reading psalms or looking back through the words I had written in my journal.

I love the singing part, even if I don’t open my mouth, and I find myself swaying to the music as if my bones can’t help but cry out. (If I kept silent, surely the rocks will cry out.) The Spirit stirs inside of me, and I must respond in musical worship. However, as I said, I haven’t really been able to focus on any of the teachings. And these days, I’m going more to see who I can meet than what I can learn from a sermon.

But that Sunday. That Sunday, God came near to me, and He showed me again what is truly important: Him. The Lord. The Lord My Shepherd.

He cares gently for His flock, and he holds the orphaned lambs close to His heart. His power and his compassion comfort me in the darkest valley as He leads me to the next mountain. Jehovah Rohi.

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Communion for Breakfast

It’s a fascinating idea.

I had the blessing of experiencing this a couple of weeks ago:

I was working at a Christian summer camp, and the directors had the brilliant idea of starting each day with morning devotions. It totally helped me to start my day on the right track with a good focus and attitude.

We did things like read through passages in Ephesians, worship together, and pray for the day and the morning.

Tuesday’s devotion, however, was by far my favorite. It was a time of communion.

When I arrived at the church that morning, I was starving. I had not had time to eat breakfast, and I was planning on scarfing down my energy bar during devotions. Then, to my delight, I noticed a loaf of bread in the center of the meeting circle. Someone brought bread for breakfast? Works for me.

Then, I noticed the red plastic cups and the bottle of grape juice.

Oh, I thought, feeling a strange sense of embarasment, we’re having communion.

We sang a few beautiful worship songs, and then it was time to partake in the rememberance. I glanced up every so often as my coworkers got up one by one to take of the bread. It had been cut in large slices, but they were tearing off little bits.

“It’s okay to grab more,” our boss encouraged us. “Take a big piece of God!”

And I did just that – I was hungry!

Man, did that metaphor sink in for me that day.

The first thing I ate that morning was the bread that symbolized my savior’s body, broken for me, the sacrifice He made because He loved me.

The first thing I drank was the grape juice that stood for the blood that was shed for me, the blood that covers me, cleanses me, makes me whole.

And boy, did I eat and drink. I couldn’t get enough of it!

Physically, I was starving. Spritiually, I was hungry for more.

So I ate and drank that day, asking God to fill me up.

He did not disappoint. It has been two weeks, and I still can’t stop thinking about the power of that moment.

I want to wake each morning hungry for God. I want His Words and His Spirit to fill me up, because nothing else will satisfy. I want to live out each day constantly aware of the Sacrifice that was made, of the Blood that covers sin, of the Grace that is so readily made available. <3