Sunday April 26 ,2015, Yr B, Readings: Acts 4:5-12, Ps 23, 1 John 3:16-24, John 10:11-18
The poetry of Psalm 23 speaks to us in the simplest of terms that belie the intricacy of its depth. Jesus would, of course, have known the psalm and it is a perfect pairing to his continuing "discussion" with the religious authorities in this week's Gospel of John.
The symbolism in this well-known Psalm is far more complex and fascinating than just the obvious image of a man walking down a country lane with a big staff and a dog, or the pretty girl of nursery rhymes with a bow on her crook as the sheep dutifully follow. Along with the earlier verses in John 10 (which I encourage you to read), taken line by line we can see, feel, and almost hear Jesus, our Shepherd, with us, reviving, caring, comforting, andanointing. Watching over us, preparing our table, restoring us; nothing we need is withheld.
Our Good Shepherd's job is never done. The demands on real living shepherds are constant and endless. Sheep are peculiarly needy and helpless creatures, quite restive, and even self-destructive at times. They can stand still for hours or bolt into stampede because an apple drops unexpectedly from a tree. The shepherd must keep continuous vigil against disease, insect infestations, predators, pecking-order fights, escape artists,
water, and food supplies. Sheep will NOT lie down unless they are completely contented and secure. A special oil mixture that the shepherd prepares and swabs (anoints) around each sheep's head and nose keeps deadly insects from burrowing and causing panic, disease, and injury, and the sheep is calmed for at least a little while. Then there are shearing and lambing seasons...*
The sheep know their shepherd's voice and it comforts them. Do we know the voice of our Shepherd? Some days I feel pretty sheepish and need that voice as reminder to get back into the flock. How about you?
LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY
Thanks to People's Prayers, sidebar
Thanks to Christina Brennan Lee