What is is like for a church to face significant trauma as they entered a pastoral transition, and then experience the ministry of an intentional interim pastor? Here is how one church expressed it.
“The Traveling Shepherd and His Wife”
We were basking in the warmth of the summer sun’s glow
When the decay of fall started to show.
Unaware and unprepared, a bleak winter storm hit
When our barns were empty with no wood to keep the fire lit.
Empty of hand and empty of heart
Like a lost flock of sheep, we didn’t know where to start.
Our cries echoed across the land of white
As the winter sun set, and we ran out of Light.
Just as the darkness had begun to take over
There appeared two flickers of Light that seemed to come closer.
As they came into view, we had no strength to stand
Yet somehow we knew His rescue was at hand.
Their smiles were warm and their hands well worn
For they told us they’d given their lives to mending what was torn.
Then the traveling shepherd and his sweet, sweet wife
Knelt down right beside us with eyes full of Life.
Looking deep into the dark corners of our sorrow and pain
They promised to stay for a time until our strength we regained.
Day after day, with wisdom in their hearts
They fed our weary souls until again we had a spark.
With care and with love, they brought us back to strength
And taught us how to live Life, no matter the length.
See, the shepherd and his wife didn’t just stay until their work was done
Not, they put down roots and with us, became one.
Two years passed with slow transformation toward His name
So now our barns are filled to overflowing; the richest wood they contain.
And as the sunbeams of springs began to shine through the trees
The shepherd and his wife knew it was time for them to leave.
They had helped us find a new, vibrant Life
And we didn’t want to let go of the shepherd and his wife.
Yet with tears in our eyes, everyone knew
For they had tenderly taught us that what we held too tightly we were bound to lose.
So now we let go with ample strength to stand
A new shepherd shall soon arrive, the staff passed into his hand.
As beams of sun reflect off the blanket of white
So the traveling shepherd and his wife, on us, have reflected His Light.
Words of this world could not convey
And the best riches of the day could never repay
The cost of commitment and the pain of selfless love
Can only be redeemed by the Great Shepherd above.
It is with that Truth, we express our thanks
For when you came, we were empty. Now overflowing are our banks.
A family and a home, you always have here
Stop in and visit if your traveling brings you near.
A piece of your love and the foundation that you laid
Will always remain here for you entered our story and took part in all that He’s made.
Now we send you out again with love in our hearts
May you show yet another flock exactly where to start.