I think this quote can apply in a spiritual way to a church body that has endured for years. There are mutual scars, mutual battle, mutual loss, mutual grace that binds us deep down. It also makes every loss and leaving more painful.
SoulDefenders and HearthKeepers
The voice of God’s Shepherds, the SoulDefenders rise in song,
Thick, deep, loud, powerful
Mixed in, peeking out, the voices of the women who walk at their side,
Oft’ unpraised, the HearthKeepers.
As the night settles in, as the stars come out, the SoulDefenders gather in smaller groups,
Smoke hangs in the air
Beer, both light and dark, is savored
Talk and laughing with deep-bellied laughs
As only men who have fought spiritual battles can laugh.
Stories are shared of their sheep, the souls they defend,
Sometimes laughing so they don’t cry
They carry the scars of words, sins, stress
In their dark eyes and gray hair,
These Soul Defenders, Shepherds, Pastors.
A warning: Don’t become one of these men lightly
Don’t pick up their weapons seeking glory
You won’t gain what you seek
Seek your SoulDefender, SoulDefenders
Seek your Shepherd, Shepherds, and not yourself.
(I wrote this while at the ARBCA-GA in April. You may have noticed that while this bit of prose is called SoulDefenders and HearthKeepers, the HearthKeepers were only mentioned once. This is because they are often unsung in the shadows, but they are okay with that. Their job is a hard one with little praise, but they know it’s not about them. Someday, maybe when my fairytale is done, I think I’ll write a story about SoulDefenders and HearthKeepers.)