Shepherd's Cross Christian Helps Ministry
(1 Corinthians 12:28)

Following in the footsteps of the Acts of the Apostles, written by St. Luke, Shepherd's Cross Christian Helps Ministry exists by the grace of God to further the first century Apostolic tradition serving in the Great Commission.

(St. Matthew 28:16-20)

Psalm 6

For the music director, to be accompanied by stringed instruments, according to the sheminith style; a psalm of David.

Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger!
Do not discipline me in your raging fury!
Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am frail!
Heal me, Lord, for my bones are shaking!
I am absolutely terrified, and you, Lord how long will this continue?
Relent, Lord, rescue me!
Deliver me because of your faithfulness!

Invocation of Witnesses

Listen, O heavens, and I will speak; hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. My teaching will drop like the rain; my sayings will drip like the dew, as rain drops upon the grass, and showers upon new growth. For I will proclaim the name of the Lord; you must acknowledge the greatness of our God. As for the Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are just. He is a reliable God who is never unjust, he is fair and upright. His people have been unfaithful to him; they have not acted like his children this is their sin. They are a perverse and deceitful generation. Is this how you repay the Lord, you foolish, unwise people? Is he not your father, your creator? He has made you and established you. Remember the ancient days; bear in mind the years of past generations. Ask your father and he will inform you, your elders, and they will tell you. When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when he divided up humankind, he set the boundaries of the peoples, according to the number of the heavenly assembly. For the Lord’s allotment is his people, Jacob is his special possession. The Lord found him in a desolate land, in an empty wasteland where animals howl. He continually guarded him and taught him; he continually protected him like the pupil of his eye. Like an eagle that stirs up its nest that hovers over its young, so the Lord spread out his wings and took him he lifted him up on his pinions. The Lord alone was guiding him; no foreign god was with him. He enabled him to travel over the high terrain of the land, and he ate of the produce of the fields. He provided honey for him from the cliffs and olive oil from the hardest of rocks, butter from the herd and milk from the flock, along with the fat of lambs, rams and goats of Bashan, along with the best of the kernels of wheat; and from the juice of grapes you drank wine. Deuteronomy 32:1-14

A Liturgical Calendar

Focusing our attention throughout the year on the Lord Jesus Christ, people attending worship, communally observe reverently and sequentially, biblical historical events of the Christian faith to recall again what God has done for us in order that we may call him, Abba, Father. This is what a liturgical calendar connotes.

This particular psalm, being the first of the seven penitential psalms, was recited specifically during Ash Wednesday in the early Western Church rite.

Remember, O Man That You Are Dust, And Unto Dust You Shall Return — Genesis 3:19
(Latin: Memento Homo, Quia Pulvis Es, Et In Pulverem Reverteris.)

"Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return." These are the words that have been passed down for centuries through the Historical Western Christian Rite known as Ash Wednesday, the commencement of the beginning of the forty days of Lent.

Historically, Ash Wednesday is a moment in time each year that the Christian believer approaches God individually and receives ashes in the sign of the Cross upon the forehead in order to show a repentant heart.

The ashes that are used for this rite have been gathered from palm crosses from the previous years' Palm Sunday service. The palm branches are collected and then burned. Following in the liturgical practice, the ashes are then mixed with the Oil of the Catechumens, which is one of the oils used to anoint all those who are baptized into the Christian faith. Drying into a paste the Minister, who led at the Christian service, makes the sign of the cross, first upon his own forehead and then on each of those present who kneel before him at the altar rail. He then recites these words: "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return."

Ashes were used in ancient times, according to the Bible, to express penance. Dusting oneself with ashes was the penitent's way of expressing sorrow for sins and faults. An ancient example of one expressing one's penitence is found in Job 42:3-6. Job says to God: "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." (c. 5-6, KJV) Other examples are found in several other books of the Bible including, Numbers 19:9,17, Hebrews 9:13, Jonah 3:6, Matthew11:21, and Luke 10:1.

Ash Wednesday

Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the agèd eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?

Because I do not hope to know
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is nothing again

Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessèd face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice

And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgment not be too heavy upon us

Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care Teach us to sit still.

Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.

Lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper-tree
In the cool of the day, having fed to sateity
On my legs my heart my liver and that which had been contained
In the hollow round of my skull. And God said
Shall these bones live? Shall these
Bones live? And that which had been contained
In the bones (which were already dry) said chirping:
Because of the goodness of this Lady
And because of her loveliness, and because
She honours the Virgin in meditation,
We shine with brightness. And I who am here dissembled
Proffer my deeds to oblivion, and my love
To the posterity of the desert and the fruit of the gourd.
It is this which recovers
My guts the strings of my eyes and the indigestible portions
Which the leopards reject. The Lady is withdrawn

In a white gown, to contemplation, in a white gown.
Let the whiteness of bones atone to forgetfulness.
There is no life in them. As I am forgotten
And would be forgotten, so I would forget
Thus devoted, concentrated in purpose. And God said
Prophesy to the wind, to the wind only for only
The wind will listen. And the bones sang chirping
With the burden of the grasshopper, saying

Lady of silences
Calm and distressed
Torn and most whole
Rose of memory
Rose of forgetfulness
Exhausted and life-giving
Worried reposeful
The single Rose
Is now the Garden
Where all loves end
Terminate torment
Of love unsatisfied
The greater torment
Of love satisfied
End of the endless
Journey to no end
Conclusion of all that
Is inconclusible
Speech without word and
Word of no speech
Grace to the Mother
For the Garden
Where all love ends.
Under a juniper-tree the bones sang, scattered and shining
We are glad to be scattered, we did little good to each other,
Under a tree in the cool of day, with the blessing of sand,
Forgetting themselves and each other, united
In the quiet of the desert. This is the land which ye
Shall divide by lot. And neither division nor unity
Matters. This is the land. We have our inheritance.

I At the first turning of the second stair
I turned and saw below
The same shape twisted on the banister
Under the vapour in the fetid air
Struggling with the devil of the stairs who wears
The deceitul face of hope and of despair.

At the second turning of the second stair
I left them twisting, turning below;
There were no more faces and the stair was dark,
Damp, jaggèd, like an old man's mouth drivelling, beyond repair,
Or the toothed gullet of an agèd shark.

At the first turning of the third stair
Was a slotted window bellied like the figs's fruit
And beyond the hawthorn blossom and a pasture scene
The broad backed figure drest in blue and green
Enchanted the may time with an antique flute.
Blown hair is sweet, brown hair over the mouth blown,
Lilac and brown hair;
Distraction, music of the flute, stops and steps of the mind
over the third stair,
Fading, fading; strength beyond hope and despair
Climbing the third stair.

Lord, I am not worthy
Lord, I am not worthy

but speak the word only.

Who walked between the violet and the violet
Whe walked between
The various ranks of varied green
Going in white and blue, in Mary's colour,
Talking of trivial things
In ignorance and knowledge of eternal dolour
Who moved among the others as they walked,
Who then made strong the fountains and made fresh the springs

Made cool the dry rock and made firm the sand
In blue of larkspur, blue of Mary's colour,
Sovegna vos

Here are the years that walk between, bearing
Away the fiddles and the flutes, restoring
One who moves in the time between sleep and waking, wearing

White light folded, sheathing about her, folded.
The new years walk, restoring
Through a bright cloud of tears, the years, restoring
With a new verse the ancient rhyme. Redeem
The time. Redeem
The unread vision in the higher dream
While jewelled unicorns draw by the gilded hearse.

The silent sister veiled in white and blue
Between the yews, behind the garden god,
Whose flute is breathless, bent her head and signed but spoke no word

But the fountain sprang up and the bird sang down
Redeem the time, redeem the dream
The token of the word unheard, unspoken

Till the wind shake a thousand whispers from the yew

And after this our exile

If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent
If the unheard, unspoken
Word is unspoken, unheard;
Still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard,
The Word without a word, the Word within
The world and for the world;
And the light shone in darkness and
Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled
About the centre of the silent Word.

O my people, what have I done unto thee.

Where shall the word be found, where will the word
Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence
Not on the sea or on the islands, not
On the mainland, in the desert or the rain land,
For those who walk in darkness
Both in the day time and in the night time
The right time and the right place are not here
No place of grace for those who avoid the face
No time to rejoice for those who walk among noise and deny the voice

Will the veiled sister pray for
Those who walk in darkness, who chose thee and oppose thee,
Those who are torn on the horn between season and season, time and time, between
Hour and hour, word and word, power and power, those who wait
In darkness? Will the veiled sister pray
For children at the gate
Who will not go away and cannot pray:
Pray for those who chose and oppose

O my people, what have I done unto thee.

Will the veiled sister between the slender
Yew trees pray for those who offend her
And are terrified and cannot surrender
And affirm before the world and deny between the rocks
In the last desert before the last blue rocks
The desert in the garden the garden in the desert
Of drouth, spitting from the mouth the withered apple-seed.

O my people.

Although I do not hope to turn again
Although I do not hope
Although I do not hope to turn

Wavering between the profit and the loss
In this brief transit where the dreams cross
The dream crossed twilight between birth and dying
(Bless me father) though I do not wish to wish these things
From the wide window towards the granite shore
The white sails still fly seaward, seaward flying
Unbroken wings

And the lost heart stiffens and rejoices
In the lost lilac and the lost sea voices
And the weak spirit quickens to rebel
For the bent golden-rod and the lost sea smell
Quickens to recover
The cry of quail and the whirling plover
And the blind eye creates
The empty forms between the ivory gates
And smell renews the salt savour of the sandy earth

This is the time of tension between dying and birth
The place of solitude where three dreams cross
Between blue rocks
But when the voices shaken from the yew-tree drift away
Let the other yew be shaken and reply.

Blessèd sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden,
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
Sister, mother
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated

And let my cry come unto Thee.

T. S. Eliot
Thomas Stearns Eliot

In Sheol Who Gives You Thanks

For no one remembers you in the realm of death, In Sheol who gives you thanks?
I am exhausted as I groan; all night long I drench my bed in tears; my tears saturate the cushion beneath me.
My eyes grow dim from suffering; they grow weak because of all my enemies.

I was adopted from birth. For purposes of definition, I use the reference for the woman that bore me as my birth mom. I use the reference term for the couple who raised me who adopted me from birth as my parents. When I became a Christian believer at around sixteen years old, my dad disowned me stating,“No son of mine is going to be a Jesus freak.” These were not idle words or heated words spoken upon the stir of the moment and then rescinded. Dad then went on to disinherit me via changing his will. Strong words also come written in the Book of James, “Adulterers, do you not know that friendship with the world means hostility toward God? So whoever decides to be the world’s friend makes himself God’s enemy.” James 4:4

“Christ, at the cost of your own blood, You have purchased for God persons from every tribe, language, people, and nation.” Revelation 5:9

Many believers that have come to a saving knowledge of Christ in this current generation have suffered as I have in that family members have cease-and-desist their relation with them. Some have been killed by their family while others have been forced to attend their own funeral service which is attended by their family members. After the service they are actually considered dead to the family. Some have actually been killed by their family members for leaving their faith for the Christian faith.

The Apostle Paul states, "I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So the life I now live in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20 and "May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." Galatians 6:14

Turn back from me, all you who behave wickedly, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping!
The Lord has heard my appeal for mercy; the Lord has accepted my prayer.
May all my enemies be humiliated and absolutely terrified!
May they turn back and be suddenly humiliated!

Two particular young women were tenants at an apartment complex that I once had the pleasure to work at. Venturing out at every opportune time, these two rebellious little darlings seemed determined to break every apartment complex rule. Having left behind their teenage era, some time ago, one may feel that, twenty two year old Susan, and twenty four year old Melissa, – (names changed), would have matured away from their teenage rebellious times. In the case of these two no, not hardly. It seems to me that there are certain people especially young people who feel that they have immunity from life’s consequences. I call this approach to life the young person’s immunity syndrome.

Exiting the elevator, returning from the laundry room, I happened to come upon the two as they were once again involved in choosing to breach the apartment complex’s code of conduct.

At that point in time, I was in what may appear to some as a prophetic temperament. Claiming to be born-again Christians, I specifically addressed the theme that these two must need to seek God and repent of their rebellious anti-authoritarian ways. Continuing, I stated that there was coming a time that their insubordinate way of behaving towards the powers that be would be to their detriment and ruin.

Rolling their eyes, showing through their body language that what was being said to them was falling on deaf ears, one smirked as the other laughed, snickering.

Inferring that they had in fact been warned, I shrugged stating, “Okay!”

Individual Retribution
Ezekiel 18: 21-32

“But if the wicked person turns from all the sin he has committed and observes all my statutes and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die. None of the sins he has committed will be held against him; because of the righteousness he has done, he will live. Do I actually delight in the death of the wicked, declares the sovereign Lord? Do I not prefer that he turn from his wicked conduct and live?
“But if a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and practices wrongdoing according to all the abominable practices the wicked carries out, will he live? All his righteous acts will not be remembered; because of the unfaithful acts he has done and the sin he has committed, he will die.
“Yet you say, ‘The Lord’s conduct is unjust!’ Hear, O house of Israel: Is my conduct unjust? Is it not your conduct that is unjust? When a righteous person turns back from his righteousness and practices wrongdoing, he will die for it; because of the wrongdoing he has done, he will die. When a wicked person turns from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he will preserve his life. Because he considered and turned from all the sins he had done, he will surely live; he will not die. Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The Lord’s conduct is unjust!’ Is my conduct unjust, O house of Israel? Is it not your conduct that is unjust?
“Therefore I will judge each person according to his conduct, O house of Israel, declares the sovereign Lord. Repent and turn from all your wickedness; then it will not be an obstacle leading to iniquity. Throw away all your sins you have committed and fashion yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why should you die, O house of Israel? For I take no delight in the death of anyone, declares the sovereign Lord. Repent and live!
Around 8:00 pm the following Friday the two young women went out on a rollerblade excursion.

Melissa, being well ahead in distance and having crossed the intersection ahead of her companion, yelled out to Susan to, “go for it.” Meaning, Susan should ignore the red light and cross the intersection in order to catch up with Melissa. Susan never made it. Susan was hit by a SUV and killed at the scene of the accident. She was pronounced dead on the scene. She was twenty-two. Waiting an extra minute may have allowed Susan to live an extra fifty plus years. Talking with Melissa a few days later she stated that it was the SUV driver’s fault. Denial that Melissa stepped in is not a river in Egypt. Again, the young person’s immunity syndrome, like I wrote earlier, some feels that they have immunity from life’s consequences. It is never their fault and It is never their responsibility.

Psalm 73

Certainly God is good to Israel, and to those whose motives are pure!
But as for me, my feet almost slipped; my feet almost slid out from under me.
For I envied those who are proud, as I observed the prosperity of the wicked.
For they suffer no pain; their bodies are strong and well-fed.
They are immune to the trouble common to men; they do not suffer as other men do. Arrogance is their necklace, and violence their clothing.
Their prosperity causes them to do wrong; their thoughts are sinful.
They mock and say evil things; they proudly threaten violence.
They speak as if they rule in heaven, and lay claim to the earth.
Therefore they have more than enough food to eat, and even suck up the water of the sea.
They say, “How does God know what we do?
Is the sovereign one aware of what goes on?”
Take a good look! This is what the wicked are like, those who always have it so easy and get richer and richer.
I concluded, “Surely in vain I have kept my motives pure and maintained a pure lifestyle.
I suffer all day long, and am punished every morning.”
If I had publicized these thoughts, I would have betrayed your loyal followers.
When I tried to make sense of this, it was troubling to me.
Then I entered the precincts of God’s temple, and understood the destiny of the wicked.
Surely you put them in slippery places; you bring them down to ruin.
How desolate they become in a mere moment!
Terrifying judgments make their demise complete!
They are like a dream after one wakes up.
O Lord, when you awake you will despise them.
Yes, my spirit was bitter, and my insides felt sharp pain.
I was ignorant and lacked insight; I was as senseless as an animal before you.
But I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.
You guide me by your wise advice, and then you will lead me to a position of honor.
Whom do I have in heaven but you?
I desire no one but you on earth.
My flesh and my heart may grow weak, but God always protects my heart and gives me stability.
Yes, look! Those far from you die; you destroy everyone who is unfaithful to you.
But as for me, God’s presence is all I need.
I have made the sovereign Lord my shelter, as I declare all the things you have done.

Repent, and hear the good news. — Mark 1:15

Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel. — Mark 1:15

In Jesus name,

Brother Richard, MS Ed
Brother Richard, MS Ed

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