Sunday, April 26, 2015

4th Sunday in Easter - A Reflection

Today we have Jesus’ story of the hired shepherd who, when the wolves come, runs away leaving the sheep unprotected to be scattered and devoured.  Without the Good Shepherd to protect them (who will lay down his life for them) the sheep become just another passing meal for the wolves.

Jesus is our Good Shepherd.  He has laid down His life for us; saving us forever from the wolves of sin.  By His voice, we are led through the valley to drink from the life-giving stream.  We walk to the cadence of his song comforted by His presence.  We are nourished by the bounty of His love; knowing He will always lead us to lush pastures where we may dwell safe and secure under His ever-watchful gaze.

We are His sheep, Jesus is our shepherd.  We trust in Him for all we will ever need – even if we never give it a thought.

Jesus has not banished or destroyed the wolves.  They still lurk on the edges of the pasture, waiting for us to wander out of ear-shot of the Shepherd.  

Sheep have a tendency to be unaware or unmindful of their surroundings.  This why they need a shepherd who will rescue them when they do sheepy-things like wander away as they search for greener pastures in the next field; falling into crevices, getting caught in brambles and being captured by wolves.  Sheep are frustrating creatures who need the constant vigilance of a shepherd who is dedicated to their welfare: not someone who is only in it for a paycheck.  Sheep wander constantly, so they easily get away from an inattentive and uncaring shepherd; falling prey to the wolves waiting for their next meal.  After all, a wolf is a wolf is a wolf – he will not change or be dissuaded from his wolfiness.

We are saved only by staying within earshot of the voice of the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ.  He loves us and cares for us so much that He gave His life for us.  It is only through His voice that we are fed and watered – He provides us all we need.  We are to trust in Him and should not be distracted by what appears to be ‘greener fields’ or sounds like the babble of refreshing brooks over the next rise.  For:

The LORD is my shepherd;
there is nothing I lack.
In green pastures he makes me lie down;
to still waters he leads me;
he restores my soul.
He guides me along right path
for the sake of his name.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff comfort me.
You set a table before me
in front of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Indeed, goodness and mercy, will pursue me
all the days of my life;
I will dwell in the house of the LORD
for endless days.

Deacon Don

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