So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and 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. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. John 10:7-17
The gate secured as night falls
winter setting teeth to rattle
the lamps illuminate the brittle snow
and the predator lurk just beyond.
We think ourselves strong and safe
but the storms blow in quickly
the despair and darkness consume
and we give into our carelessness.
We forget that morning will come
imagine we have been left alone
abandon children turn on the weak
and make the hurting suffer more.
Good shepherd walks the perimeter
night and day restoring the broken links
wrapping the wounded in tender arms
and bringing in the soft foals.
In our jealousy and neediness
we think we need no other hand
and pretend we are independent
and horde our abundance.
Good Shepherd abides in our humanity
singing our fears away through dark nights
holding us when the beasts instill fear
and promise to bring us safely home.