April 10, 2016

Good Shepherd Sunday Sermon 2016

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In 1941 two American songwriters wrote the now famous World War II standard “(Bluebirds over) the White Cliffs of Dover.” Made unforgettable by Dame Vera Lynn’s recording in 1942, the song quickly became an anthem for Allied soldiers fighting on the continent during the second Great War. On the one hand, the song tells the story of soldiers’ resilience, of their heartbreak and their homesickness: “I'll never forget the people I met,” sings Dame Vera, “Braving those angry skies / I remember well as the shadows fell / The light of hope in their eyes.” On the other hand, the song is a story of promise. Despite the bombs falling and the angry skies, the singer goes on to say: “There’ll be love and laughter / And peace ever after / Tomorrow / When the world is free / The shepherd will tend his sheep / The valley will bloom again / And Jimmy will go to sleep / In his own little room again / There’ll be bluebirds over / The white cliffs of Dover / Tomorrow / Just you wait and see.”

The song’s vision of peace draws on well-known images from the Scriptures. Dame Vera sang of war-torn valleys blossoming, echoing words from the prophet Isaiah. She sang of a shepherd tending his sheep and gathering the lambs scattered by war and violence, alluding to the images of the Good Shepherd found throughout the Scriptures, including in this morning’s Gospel. ...

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