Sunday, April 17, 2016

Good Shepherd

At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly." Jesus answered, "I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father's hand. The Father and I are one." John 10:22-30

This Sunday is often called Good Shepherd Sunday. Some folks forget that as isolated as we might feel, we are known by name and loved in totality. We might find ourselves in confusing and dark circumstances but we are guided, fed and cared for by a loving Creator. I hold the image of the shepherds I know who drive great distances to feed and water their sheep, sheep who walk towards their shepherd and run and holler at strangers like me. We, in are scattered and lost condition are sought out day and night.

Jesus is being tested by the religious people around him in the midst of the a great holiday. They do not want to get to know Jesus but rather challenge and test him. They were there to celebrate the blessings of God, the restoration of the Temple, but wanted to do theological battle. Jesus invites them to see the love of God coming to them as a tender shepherd. To see God in their midst and to give thanks for being known and loved.

Today, on a beautiful spring Sunday in Montana. I ask God to help me be ever grateful for the evidence all around of being loved and sought out. May we celebrate the blessings of being known and loved and hold tight to the promises of God for each and everyone of us.

The Collect - O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people: Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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