Preparing Through Parable: We Know Your Voice

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“The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 
John 10:1-5, 14-16

 

 

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Gentle Shepherds
of this wayward flock
each of us wanting to go
his or her own way

We know your voice
and listen intently
to follow you
where you know we should be

You lead us
to the green pastures
of The Word
to fill up full.

Alongside the still waters
we quench our thirst,
we are comforted
that you point the way.

If one has gone astray
we know you will come looking
until we are searched out
in our hiding place.

We rejoice together
in celebration
of the lost
now found.

You know your sheep
through a full generation
of us thriving
in your love and care.

We know our shepherds.
We know your voice.
We know you were brought to us
through the loving grace of God Himself.

Amen and Amen again.

 

May my eyes see, my ears hear, my heart understand.  He prepares me with parable.

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Pastor Bert and Jane Hitchcock — over 25 years at Wiser Lake Chapel

 

 

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Advent Meditation–Great Shepherd

photo by Graham Hobbs in Dorset, U.K.

We’ve never owned sheep in over 25 years of living on the farm, although we have considered it, even bought a book or two on sheep raising, and looked at a few heritage breeds.  We haven’t bought one (yet).  The downside of sheep is they are high-maintenance with a tendency to easily get into trouble , often have difficulty lambing so need to be watched and assisted if necessary, must have regular hoof and health care and most of all,  are defenseless against predators.    In other words, they require stewardship that we couldn’t commit to providing.  Cows, horses, goats, chickens, geese, and ducks seemed like commitment enough.

The sheep herds of Bible times (and even these days in sheep country) have full time shepherds moving with the flocks, using dogs for predator control and flock management.  The shepherd is essential for the survival of the sheep, as well as the well being of the entire flock.

Jesus is called the Great Shepherd not just because of his leadership, but because he is also the Lamb.  He knows the vulnerability of having no means to defend oneself, being completely submissive to a greater will and plan than one’s own, having experienced the pain of sacrifice, and the rescue into the loving arms of the Lord after death.  Knowing our weakness, Jesus carries us, his sheep, gently and lovingly on his shoulders, guiding us to the pathways where we will be safest, searching for us if we are lost, protecting us if we are threatened.

The shepherd, knowing the sheep, promises to be there, no matter what, no matter where. We who have gone astray, every one to his own way, will return to the fold, knowing he calls to us out of love.