May 14, 2017: Of Shepherds and Shame

Posted on : May 11th, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

I recently heard someone say “well, he just needs to find God.” It really bothered me.  So many of the people I encounter in the emergency room feel judged and have, indeed, been judged harshly.  Growing up I often heard about “judgment day” and how God will judge us all.  But as an adult, I find that I lean more toward thinking about how loving, forgiving, and graceful God is with us.  Almost every day, I do something wrong, and I am so grateful that I know the love and grace of God in my heart. And I know that God’s love and grace is stronger than the judgment of others.  Sometimes I still perseverate, usually about 3am, about things I have done wrong.  And If I only focused on how I would be further punished at the end of my life or in the next life, god knows I’d never sleep.  It is hard to focus the grace and love of God when we are surrounded by the negativity and judgment of others.

Sunday’s scripture provides us with a wonderful image of God and Jesus as a “Shepherd.”  It tells us that Jesus knows us each by name and cares for us as a shepherd does the flock.  Please join us on Sunday if you’re able and we will talk more about these topics.



~ This Sunday’s Scripture ~

John 10: 1-15

from “The Message” a contemporary retelling of the biblical story

“Let me set this before you as plainly as I can. If a person climbs over or through the fence of a sheep pen instead of going through the gate, you know he’s up to no good—a sheep rustler! The shepherd walks right up to the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. They won’t follow a stranger’s voice but will scatter because they aren’t used to the sound of it.”

Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary. A hired worker is not a real shepherd. The sheep mean nothing to him. He sees a wolf come and runs for it, leaving the sheep to be ravaged and scattered by the wolf. He’s only in it for the money. The sheep don’t matter to him.

“I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own sheep and my own sheep know me. In the same way, God knows me and I know God. I put the sheep before myself, sacrificing myself if necessary. You need to know that I have other sheep in addition to those in this pen. I need to gather and bring them, too. They’ll also recognize my voice.

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