The Fourth Sunday of Easter
In this week’s gospel reading (John 10:22-30) Jesus calls us sheep. It was a reference folks in his context could identify with and understand. Beyond that, I think he did so for a couple of reasons. He knows that we need someone, or something to define the way for us, to lead us, to push us forward, to call us in the way that we should go. He also knows that we have a tendency to wander off. It may not even always be intentional, but sometimes we become absorbed with what’s in front of us, preoccupied with many things, we get distracted and like sheep preoccupied with grazing, we look up and discover that we’ve slipped away and are not as centered in our faith as we might like to be. It’s like the hymn says, “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.” Jesus called us sheep, because he knew we needed a shepherd. Someone to watch over us, to show us the way, to call us home when we’ve wandered a bit too far, and someone to lead us to green pastures and to help us in the midst of chaotic and uncertain life to find the still waters (Psalm 23). Of course, for this relationship to work, we, like sheep, must listen to the shepherd. Herein lies the importance of worship, prayer, loving our neighbors, and holy friendships. These are among the places where the voice of the Good Shepherd can be heard above the din of our hectic and hurried lives. Thankfully, if we listen, God is still speaking.
Rev. David Hockett
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