Friday, March 24, 2017

Daily Devotion for Lent 2017 - Day 21, Friday

Today's Reading: John 10:1-21 (NRSV)

We encounter two more of the "I am" statements within today's reading.

Jesus declares, "I am the gate."


"I am the good shepherd."

These are important metaphors for people to understand how they relate to God.  The gate reminds us that when we seek a spiritual relationship with God, Jesus is the door through which we enter.  For Christians, this makes perfect sense.  The spiritual life is seen through the lens that is put forward by Jesus Christ.  Many of our practices and beliefs are grounded in the ministry of Jesus.

A thief or a bandit would have their own self-interest in mind.  Jesus has our best interest in mind which is why this is paired with the Good Shepherd imagery.

Sometimes the flock has its own ideas!
I still remember in my first youth ministry job at New Haven when Ken Tobler was the pastor.  When he preached on this passage, he reminded us that many people refer to the pastor as the shepherd of the flock.  He said, "I am not the shepherd. Jesus is the shepherd.  If anything, I am the sheep dog."

He said this to remind us not to confuse the pastor with Jesus.  He also identified the role of the pastor as one who works on behalf of the shepherd.  The shepherd always directs the sheep dog and hopefully that is the case with the clergy.

As Lent is now more than halfway finished, how are we listening for the voice of the shepherd?  Whether sheep dog or member of the flock, in order to listen, we have to be attentive.  Sometimes it means quieting ourselves and being silent.  Others may like to read over scripture in a prayerful attitude.  Regardless of how we listen, I like the promises this passage affords us.

Prayer for the day:

May it please the supreme and divine Goodness
to give us all abundant grace
ever to know his most holy will
and perfectly to fulfill it.  Amen.

   St. Ignatius of Loyola, 16th Century

Photo by Wayne Seward via  Used under the Creative Commons license.

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