As I consider the lectionary readings for Sunday, the common theme seems to be about sheep and shepherds.
|Sometimes pastors are called the shepherds of the flock. |
Rev. Ken Tobler always said, "Jesus is the Shepherd.
I'm just the sheep dog!"
I think back to the many times my mother shepherded me as a child, keeping me safe and free from harm.
And yet, she let me be myself and learn from mistakes. I think it took a lot for her not to be overprotective. She tells me that when I was a toddler, she would sweat me to death because she was always cold!
But we did have a jungle gym and when I climbed and stood on the monkey bars, she didn't cry out, "Sam, get down from there!" like I know she wanted. Instead, she just made over my ability to balance.
Whenever I would get into trouble, it always seemed to be a surprise to her. She would admonish me by saying, "Sam, that's not like you!" It was as if she couldn't imagine me being selfish or stupid.
I wish everyone would have someone in their lives that only sees the best in them.
As we think about Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd, we remember that as we are in Christ, God sees us for our best. In Christ, God doesn't count our sins against us as Paul reminds the church at Corinth.
Sometimes it is good to start with a clean slate.
We see in John's Gospel passage for the week that Jesus is also the Gate. As we enter in Christ, we find new life.
But what if we don't enter in Christ? Does this gate ever close or lock?
Is it designed to keep people out?
Like any metaphor, it can begin to break down with too much analysis - that is our problem with poetic language as a post-enlightenment culture! My thought is that it speaks more toward protection than exclusion.
We'll be looking at this passage in worship this Sunday and I hope that you'll join us either in person or online. Mothers that come in person will get a treat!
Photo by Rosendahl [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons