Sometimes you miss connections. Like tonight.
As I often do, I asked Nancy for a word. She said, “Have I ever said ‘green’?” She hadn’t. So I searched for the times that the word “green” shows up in one Bible translation.
I noticed immediately that Jesus directed the crowd of 15,000 or so to “sit down in groups on the green grass.” These were the people Jesus had been trying to avoid, the people who showed up to interrupt his grief retreat with his disciples. Jesus looked at the crowd and had compassion on them “because they looked like sheep without a shepherd.” People in little clusters of people, scattered around the field, tired from scurrying around the lake,
He spent the day teaching and then had then sit on the green grass.
Which seem to be clearly connected to another instance of green, this time from a funerally familiar place, the 23rd Psalm: “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures.”
David knew about shepherds, knew about caring for sheep. He described it and a millennium later a descendant lived it out. Having compassion, having the sheep lay down, feeding the sheep.
I’m not sure whether I’ve seen the connection before. I treasure it now, with an image of caring for wandering and confused people, looking for meaning and hope and rest. We are often there, I fear.
But there is a shepherd who still cares.