Thursday, February 16, 2012
There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?” Others said, “These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.” John 10:19-30
Before our first child was born we found someone who would make us a papoose or cradle board for her. All three of our daughters were toted around as infants, on my back or my husband's back as babies, snug and tightly held while we wanders through wooded areas and crowded streets alike. They were safe and warm, bound closely and held near so as not to feel left alone or unsafe. Small infants need that nestled feeling, but we all need that sense of safety, where we are not in danger at every moment.
Jesus tells the religious leaders who are testing him that his sheep, his followers are held in his hands and in the Father's hands. A perfect picture of intimacy and safety, a closeness that defies all danger and challenges. These otherwise faithful people felt threatened by that intimacy, that tender care from God and from the Son. When we are afraid and under duress, we can remember the image that Jesus presented to them - that we are held tenderly and close by a God who seeks to keep us safe, God whose desire is to hold us close and protect us. Even when we fall down and stumble in our faith, God is the perfect parent, scooping us up and keeping us out of harm's way.
A Prayer for this day- " Gracious and loving God, you promise to hold us close and protect us from the fearful things we face this day. May we remember your promise to guard and keep us, your faithfulness in the past and your promise to lead us to safe harbor in the future. Help us to stand firm when the gales comes, knowing that you are holding us through the worst storms of our lives. And may we honor you today by sheltering those who have lost their way. May all our works lead us to the heart of God. Amen"