Spring 2024

Wayward Shepherds

By Joy Nevin Axelson

Inspired by Ezekiel 34

You feed yourselves and starve your sheep.
You drink their milk and wear their wool.
You fail to care for younglings, weak.
You leave them, prey for prowling wolves.

Sheep lie ailing, lambs are lost –
left unattended and unhealed.
You treat yourself and spare no cost
while feeble flocks are strewn afield.

You muddy water, tramp down grass,
keeping the best all for yourselves,
abandoning your wards en masse,
preventing them from living well.

What consequences will you face
for your pathetic, selfish crimes?
Deep enmity with God awaits…
your soul is running out of time.

But I will bring them home again,
and nourish them in pastures, lush;
my peace and love abide with them –
o’er all their fears, a calming hush.

I’ll bind up injured, heal the sick,
relentless search for stragglers, lost,
and lead them down to meadows thick
with morning dew and gentle frost.

About the Author

Joy Nevin Axelson earned a BA and an MA in French from the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) and The University of California (Santa Barbara) respectively and attended Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. She loves her role as the translation coordinator for GlobalFingerprints, the EFCA’s child sponsorship branch. Her translations of training materials are used at 14 international sites. When not translating, Joy enjoys traveling with her husband and two older children.