My God Is a Shepherd

by Cantinker Moss

My, it’s been a while.

This poem is actually a lyric to a song penned under a different name. The song was part of a song list used when my wife and I would sing as part of a larger folk group.

The lyrics are simple, but I believe they paint a picture of my Savior, Jesus Christ. In the times in which we live, circa 2019, we sing the praises of this religious figure who on an historical level is considered with the Buddha, Mohammed, and Confucius. But Jesus was so much more…yea…is still so much more. He had so much to prove and yet didn’t need to prove a thing. Someone has said that Bob Dylan’s lyric about the fictional John Wesley Harding alludes to Jesus, who in the song “..was never known to make a foolish move” (Compare that to the antics of the real-life outlaw John Wesley Hardin in the Wild West.)

I once asked a friend a question like “What proof do you have that Jesus is all that he claims to be.” Actually I was venturing into a world of apologetics (which isn’t bad in itself), and in this present world of Christian Fundamentalism and Evangelicanism, for many, apologetics is the way to go. However, to paraphrase him, his reply to me was simply, “I don’t need all kinds of proof. I know what Jesus has done in my life.”

I don’t know how long it took me to write “My God Is a Shepherd,” but I never intended it to be complicated. I think that is what motivated men like Tyndale to translate the Bible into English, the vernacular of his nation—simple words for simple people. (not simpletons) Someone once said that [a picture is worth a thousand words.] and some pictures are. I hope that the following poem and its initial metaphor reveal a picture greater than others in this blog: a legendary race horse, or mountains in Wyoming, or whales in Alaska. Indeed these were made by the master sculptor himself. But instead of just creating and remaining aloof like some deities—my God is a shepherd.

Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30–31, NIV)

Above photo by Biegun Wschodni@biegunwschodni

Courtesy of Unsplash photos for everyone



My God is a Shepherd. He brings in all the lambs
Into His cote protected from this weary land.
And though the wolves surround me, His staff is standing by,
And my God will protect me all the while.
My God will protect me all the while.
.
My God is a Teacher--a Lighthouse in the dark.
He shows the way more perfectly when my boat has embarked.
And though the waves of confusion may bend a sweeping tide,
My God will direct me all the while.
My God will direct me all the while.

My God is a Captain--so mighty and so sure.
He fights my foes so deadly--engaged in cosmic war.
Though mountains shake and stars may fall
And smoke rise to the sky,
My God, He will triumph all the while.
My God, He will triumph all the while.

My God is the best friend that anyone could be.
He sent His Son, Lord Jesus Christ, from sin to set me free.
And on that bright third morning He rose and death did die.
And my God still walks with me all the while.
My God still walks with me all the while.


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The Blood of Christ



by Cantinker Moss



For years I have wanted to go to the Rocky Mountains. It’s not that I have never seen mountains…I have seen great mountains on the coast of southeast Alaska. I also spent time in Boulder, Colorado, which was the first time I ever saw such majestic mountains. I was on my way to sea duty in the U.S. Coast Guard and was scheduled to fly to Juneau, and then Sitka, Alaska where my ship was docked.

When I viewed these mountains, it was at night; and from Boulder, the faint moonglow gave them a very surreal look…almost like, “I know you’re there, but then, I’m not sure.” Later, I learned these particular rock formations were known as the Flatirons, and they did not occupy a lot of the natural real estate outside of Boulder. They were the beginning of the Front Range; the foothills so to speak, and I felt pretty blessed to be there.

But I am here to talk about another range of mountains. I have not seen it in person. Yet I have had no lack of blessing, thanks to the miracle of the PC and the internet. A website that I have enjoyed over the years has been http://www.sangres.com. It has a second title, “For Your Daily Dose of the Wonders of the West.” This website shows the beauty of the Rockies, state by state, and it was here that I discovered the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. This comes from the words Sangre (“blood”) and Cristo (“Christ”.) When you put the Spanish preposition between the two words, you have Sangre de Cristo, not to mention that this is a proper name and a geographical name, which puts it in its rightful form and place on maps of New Mexico. (In the western U.S. there are dozens of place names that trace their name origins to Spanish; e.g. Colorado and Los Angeles.) And no wonder; the Spanish were the first European settlers here.

But why does this mountain range have the privilege of an association with Jesus Christ? I’m sure that those first off the boat with the flag of Spain decided that this land was theirs for the taking (no matter if anyone was there before them) So “if the land was theirs,” Then it would follow that they could create the maps and the local place names in their language too. But what of the place name of this mountain range? Those who first came to this area from Europe noted that the hue of the mountains themselves would change depending on the time of day…particularly morning and evening…sunrise and sunset. It was as if the mountains themselves were turning red in color. And what those religious Spaniards saw was red…the color of blood…the blood of Christ.



The Blood of Christ



I don’t want the things

My heart thinks I desire.

But I want to see the fire

Reflected on the higher

Country,

Like the rising crescendo of a choir

Glowing from the fountains

That are the mountains:

The

Sangre de Cristo Mountains

To the north;

That far-flung range

From God’s lone domain.

Oh, what God gave us!


Oh, what God gave us

When God gave us the Heavens and the Earth!



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