Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Being a Good Shepherd

Readings for today, Easter 4, May 3rd 2009 , can be taken from Acts 4:5-12, Psalm 23 APBA p 243, 1 John 3:16-24, John 10:11-18

This comforting idea of The Good Shepherd
has appealed to countless generations of people.
Even those of us who don’t have a rural bone in our bodies
find it strangely comforting.
St John tells us that the difference between a Good Shepherd and the hired help
is that the good shepherd puts his life on the line for the sheep.
And we know Jesus’s care for us
in that he laid down his life for us.
And the moral point is (John tells us) 
that seeing how the Good Shepherd lay down his life
We ought to lay down our lives for one another
The Character of our relationships 
Is this how our relationships are characterised?
By the fact that we put our lives out there for those we love.
We don’t always get this right.

When we marry for example
we can make the mistake of thinking that our spouse is there to fulfil us.
The Good Shepherd idea would be that it is rather the other way around
We are there to see that our spouse is fulfilled
our life is at the service of those who we are called to love.

Not a recipe for being exploited
(indeed there should be a mutuality about should go both ways)

we could give some constructive thought to where 
the Spirit invites us to ‘lay down our life’.
Is there someone whose life is our to care for?
How do we serve the other?
Interesting probably to think about those who we feel we don’t want to serve. What might that be telling us

The Good Shepherd is a challenge not just to a comforting image
but to a genuine disposition of our life.
The Good Shepherd lays down their life?

Jesus, let me not a hired hand
show me 
how to truly care for others
as you do
that I may truly 
lay down my life

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