Sunday, May 15, 2011
‘Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.’ Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
So again Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:1-10
Today Mark and I celebrate our 36th wedding anniversary. We have had several very busy and exciting weeks. We have also been very exhausted and overwhelmed of late. Nothing has gone as planned. We had to change in mid-stream and go another way. We have had to think on our feet and make it up as we go along. Sometimes, even the most flexible people can be overwhelmed. But my husband is generally unflappable. Our daughter Ariel told me, that of all the people in the labor room, it was her dad who could calm her and help her through the contractions. It was his voice that brought her focus. His voice alone brought her comfort and security. I am blessed that he has loved me all these years. Our daughters are grateful for such a loving father. We are known and loved, each tenderly called by name.
Jesus tells his disciples about the difference between the hired hands and the true shepherd. When things get rough, when plans change and danger is near, the hired hand flees. The thief tries to break in and mimic the shepherd, but none are the shepherd. His voice, is comfort and calm. The shepherds voice is love without judgement, peace even during the worst storm. Too often we look for the shepherd in the thrills of life, or in order of things. But the Good shepherd is found in the calming voice in the storm, the constant love that is strength on persistence and constancy.
Today, I give thanks for the love of my life Mark, and how much he teaches me about the love of God. Faithful and consistent, never afraid to enter life's storms, I am blessed to have a companion, a partner who lives love with lightness and laughter, with compassion and tenderness. May we share those good gifts with the people who come our way, so that they too, might know his voice.