Inspiring, educating and nurturing those who minister through music and the arts

Gates, Gatekeepers and the Good Shepherd

May 01, 2023 8:00 AM | Admin UCCMA (Administrator)

MAY 2023

Dear Kind and Gentle People,

Happy Eastertide to all my fellow pilgrims.

Here at “The Mill,” daffodils are peppering the landscape as St. Francis looks on in awestruck wonder. The lungwort is in full purple bloom, dandelions will be dug soon before they blossom and the rhubarb is popping out of the earth. Petah hopes to make prize-winning rhubarb pies and jam in about three weeks. Sadly, Petah’s knees are singing a lament—think “Dies Irae” (Day of Wrath), due to overwork in the flower beds! However, the satisfaction of being covered with good clean dirt while communing with Gaia makes it all worthwhile! Everyone say, AMEN!

The lectionary declares the fourth Sunday of Easter to be known as “Shepherds Sunday.” Jesus is clear that he is the gatekeeper and he offers liberation and inclusion. We are freed from being in charge of the “right way of thinking and worshipping.” Our personal good shepherd does not use herding dogs to nip our heels nor attack us with an old-fashioned cattle goad. He simply waits for us to accept his call and then leads us and guides us in our journey.

On Shepherds Sunday, many of us will worship in a setting where a shepherd’s crook might be displayed. Perhaps a stuffed lamb or sheep will augment the presentation and add another layer to the celebration. While we probably will not sing the Whiffenpoof Song, there will be many versions of Psalm 23 in its various forms to choose from. I confess that I enjoy the old Scottish Psalter to the tune of CRIMOND with varied dynamics and sweeping phrases. Here is a stunning rendering.

I do hope you will enjoy this Eastertide to the fullest by breathing in the beauty of creation and most importantly partake of the plethora of sacred sound available, both in nature and recordings.

In closing, perhaps the following questions would be good for a meditation and/or mindful reflection.

What gates do you enter and exit in your life?

Who are the gatekeepers?

Do you see them as compassionate and Christ-like?

Is it worth the price to enter?

As always:

Gobs of Blessings


Heaps of Happiness!

Happy Eastertide!


Rev. Dr. Peter Stickney

UCC Musicians Association

P.O. Box 370631

West Hartford, CT 06137

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