The Lord is My Shepherd...
John 10:3b-4 and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.
Today, May 3, 2020, is Good Shepherd Sunday. To be honest, this is one of my favorite Sundays - I love sheep. They make me smile. Why? I am unsure. And today we are compared to being sheep to Jesus, our shepherd. The shepherd who would lay down his life for his flock. If you think about it, it seems to be an insult that we are compared to an animal that is considered to lack intelligence. But when I think about sheep, their lack of intelligence is more than made up for in their childlike trusting in the God who gave them a shepherd to care for them. And, let's face it, sheep are just cute!
Today's Gospel has a verse that totally captures my attention and imagination - the sheep hear his voice. As we have been "Sheltering-in-Place" or, as some call "quarantined", we meet via computer and phone. For our small flock, the phone is a more familiar device than the more intimidating computer; but some adventure to be online and we see them on our screens. So, it is mostly only voices that we hear. Those voices become so precious; the same as our dear Lord's voice. It resonates the same as our gospel resonates. I think about how we attempt to say the Lord's Prayer and the Apostle's Creed. The unity in saying it together becomes fractured in the phone lines, but what a beautiful sound to hear us echoing together what Jesus taught us.
In preparing today's reflection of the Gospel, I was drawn back to the familiar words of the 23rd Psalm. As we live in the shadow of the Coronavirus, the words "even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death" take on new meaning for us today. In rereading the words that were written so long ago in the original King James translation, I found these words:
The Lord is with me
He provides rest and sanctuary
He directs my way
And through the scary places of life, I am good
He is my provider and comforter
My plate is full, even in the challenges of life
He crowns me king and fills my life with more than I need
I will rest in the hope and trust found in him
Knowing that eternal life in his house is my future. Amen.