Rev. John's Musing's
I saw an interesting program on Television the other evening. Actually, I tuned in about the middle. It was a PBS presentation on sheep farming in Europe. The focus of the program was the triadic relationship that exist between the sheep, the shepherd and the shepherd's dog.
An interesting point that was made was that the sheep dog, who's ancestors lived in the wild as natural predators of the sheep, has been bred and trained to co-exist with sheep in a harmonious relationship. What makes this relationship possible is the presence of the shepherd who assures the proper training of the dog which insures the safety of the sheep.
As I sat and watched this program, I could not help but think of the scripture passage found in John 10:3a-4. "He calls his sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice."
A primary image of our Christian faith is that of Jesus as the "Shepherd." Indeed, as sheep of his pasture, many times, Jesus stands between us and those things in the world we perceive as the enemy. Jesus intervenes on behalf of the sheep to insure a harmonious relationship.
For instance, I recall a story shared with me by a colleague. At the time this incident took place, my friend was a pastor of an inner city church in Boston. It seems that one of his parishioners, a young teen was gun down by another teen in some sort of street violence. As the day of the funeral approached, rumors began to fly about how friends and family members of the slain teen were going to retaliate against the family of the accused killer.
As the church filled with nervous and anxious mourners, my friend searched his soul and heart for words to ease the tension among the gathered body. His only restitution was to surrender the situation to the Shepherd.
As the service was about to begin, a brother of the fallen teen approach the pastor and requested the opportunity to speak before the service began. Unsure as to what he might say, my friend granted the request, and prayerfully waited for the youth to speak.
What the youth had to say was very short and simple. "One death in our community is enough. I call on all my family members and friends to let go of the anger within them and let my brother rest in peace." What he did next shocked, then brought to tears the gathered body. The brother of the slain youth, walked over to the youth accused of taking his brothers life and embraced him.
"Jesus is the good shepherds, he calls his sheep out and they know his voice. And the lion will lie down with the lamb and the wolf and the lamb will feed together."
What a wonderful Shepherd we have! My prayer for you this new year is that you will continue to know the voice of the Good Shepherd and you will head his call to gather as his flock.
God's Blessings, Pastor Pat