January 19, 2017
Life in Israel had the regular progression of night and day; weeks of labor marked by Sabbaths; seasons that repeated in order; birth, growth, fruitfulness, death. Shepherds lived this experience. It was the fabric of their lives. The Elders impressed the life of shepherding upon the children day by day, night by night, month by month, through the spring birthing, the diseases and their cures, the untimely deaths. Life had cycles. And the task was to stay present through the changes, ready for the unexpected and yet predictable glitches in the regular cycles. Sustaining oneself through the cycles required maintaining attention to the smaller parts of the larger cycles while not becoming fixated on details.
The Elders were the protectors of this way of living. They held the story and were responsible for passing it on with all its solidity and stability. There was a subtle yet definite change in the stories the Elders told of the prophesied Hero. There was a deep sense of disturbance in the regularity of the day, the week, the season. Something was impending. Yet all they knew was to maintain their participation in the regular cycle of life. This prepared them to cope with any of the possible alterations in the typical cycle of life that they couple expect.
In the midst of the changes they all saw and felt, their work was of maintenance.