Reflecting on John 10:1-10
Several years ago, while traveling with a group of pilgrims into Bethlehem, our tour guide asked the bus driver to stop so that we could all flash our pictures of an extraordinary sight for all of us city dwellers: actual sheep, being herded by an actual shepherd!
Our guide then told us a very moving story. When he came to Israel as a young man he was put in leadership over the small group of Christian churches in his particular denomination. One of the elders of that group advised him that, before he ever tried leading anyone, he should intern as a shepherd for at least a week. It was during that long week that he learned the tenderness of the shepherd in today’s psalm.
The good shepherd knows that sheep will drown in moving waters, and so leads them to still, restful waters. In the dark valleys and steep mountains, the good shepherd calms the fears of the sheep by walking beside them, drawing them back from the cliff with his rod and staff. At the end of the day, while the sheep rest in verdant pastures, he cleans the build-up of mucus out of their eyes with oil so that they don’t go blind.
Finally, at night, the good shepherd leads the sheep into the sheep gate, and then he sleeps outside the gate. If any predators come looking for his sheep, they’ll have to get to them over his dead body.
Ah. On this Good Shepherd Sunday, may you rest in the safety of the One who knows your voice, who knows your needs. May goodness and kindness follow you all the days of your life.
In what ways do you feel tenderly cared for?
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).