When the Lord is our Shepherd, there is always enough.

Homily, “When the Lord is our Shepherd, there is always enough.”
Fourth Sunday of Easter, 2020
Online for Santa Fe Episcopal Church/ La Iglesia Episcopal de Santa Fe
San Antonio, TX

Derek M Larson, TSSF

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
Acts 2:42-47
Psalm 23
1 Peter 2:19-25
John 10:1-10

https://www.lectionarypage.net/YearA_RCL/Easter/AEaster4_RCL.html

El señor es mi pastor, nada me faltará. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

What does it mean to want for nothing? Qué significa faltar nada?

What does it mean for us to today, to want for nothing in the midst of growing economic disparity between the ultrarich and everyone else? When half of Americans account for just 2% of U.S. wealth? When the richest 10% own 70% of the country’s wealth?

What does it mean to want for nothing when Latinos and Latinas and African Americans and other people of color continue to be paid less than white Americans?

What does it mean to want for nothing when we can’t afford the healthcare we need and we are one paycheck or sickness away from bankruptcy or losing our homes?

What does it mean to want for nothing when in the midst of pandemic we are losing our jobs and livelihoods? When the vast majority of government relief has been for banks and corporations. When over 30 million of us have lost our jobs and filed for unemployment?

What does it mean to want for nothing? Qué significa faltar nada?

This morning we hear the old, familiar words of the 23rd Psalm. Many of us are comforted by its softness and beauty, especially in times of hardship. We hear it at funerals and vigils after tragedy.

As beautiful as the Psalm is, it is not all just soft and pastel colors.

The Psalm is a powerfully radical affirmation of a truer and more just world. It is a protest song which dares to say that “even though I walk through the valley of death and injustice, I shall fear no evil, because my shepherd is the Lord. My shepherd is not a king, a president, or a governing body of this world, a CEO. I answer to a deeper truth. The Lord is my shepherd.

It’s powerful because the Psalmist dares to believe in an alternative reality, a deeper reality that not only trust’s in God’s provision, but dares to participate in enacting it. In contrast to the economies of the world built on ideas of competition and scarcity, the Psalmist recognizes the more true economy of God where there is abundance, community, and generosity.

It’s powerful because it portrays God not as a self-interested consumer but as one who kneels down in the grass, with dirty fingernails, accompanying us on our way. As one who sets a table and feeds all who have been turned away from other tables.

To enter into the Psalmist world in our own day, then, is a radically prophetic act. It is a loud declaration that when God is our shepherd, there is always enough. Cuando el Señor es nuestro pastor, siempre hay suficiente. When God is our shepherd—though the world steals and hoards, competes and consumes—there is enough. Because God is enough. Because God is generous. And because God calls God’s people, God’s sheep, to be generous as well.

So what does it mean to want for nothing?

Well, in our context, I think it means at least two things.

First, it means to trust in the love, care, and generosity of God. Confía en el amor, el cuidado, y la generosidad de Dios.

When times get tough, when calamity happens, when injustice is present, trust that God will provide.

Trust that if God cares for the birds who do not sow or reap God will care for you.

Do not believe it when you are defined in society by your economic net worth, but trust in what God has said, You are my child, and I love you. Tu eres mi hijo, mi hija, y te quiero.

Second, as people who carry the presence of God our shepherd into the world, to want nothing means to embody and live into the generosity of God in our own communities. Vive la generosidad de Dios en nuestras comunidades.

It means giving to those in need around you, whatever you have. Whether it be money, food, a phone call, prayer, mowing a lawn. Be generous with what God has given you.

It means to stop seeing others as individuals in economic competition, but as siblings and friends, and children of God. As we see in this morning’s reading from Acts, where the early church gave up everything to care for one another, we too are called to embody love and solidarity with one another, to enact God’s economy of generosity.

To want nothing means getting involved and joining movements such as the Poor People’s Campaign that advocate for a more equitable, compassionate, and just society. I’ve posted a link to their work below.

By trusting in God’s generosity and by embodying God’s generosity for others, we make the radical claim that God is our shepherd and when God is our shepherd, there is always enough. Cuando el Señor es Nuestro pastor, siempre hay suficiente.

It’s exciting to be a part of Santa Fe, where the church is already engaged in so much of this work. Over the last year I have seen both the trust in God’s provision and the generosity which embodies God’s care for others in the people and ministry of Santa Fe. Through the food bank, through the prayer, through the sandwiches for immigrants, through being the only Episcopal Church on the Southside, Santa Fe stands with the Psalmist in the prophetic act of claiming the Lord as our shepherd.

I speak to you today, then, as a matter of encouragement.

Many of us certainly feel like we are walking through the valley of the shadow of death today.

Many of us or around us are walking through the unjust valley of low wages and insecure healthcare.

Many of us or around us are walking through the the valley of unemployment with little relief.

Many of us or around us are walking through the valley of uncertainty wondering from where provision will come. How will we pay our bills?

But when God is our shepherd, there is always enough.

Cuando el Señor es Nuestro pastor, siempre hay suficiente.

When God is our shepherd we live a deeper and more real truth of abundance in the face of scarcity.G enerosity in the face of greed. Offering in place of consumerism. Loving community over competitive individualism.

Cuando el Señor es Nuestro pastor, siempre hay suficiente.

When God is our shepherd, we shall not be in want.

Amen.