Saturday, May 14, 2011
Jesus, The Good Shepherd
For the sake of those who have heard me talk about this before, please bear with me for the sake of those new to the blog who have not. The image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd is one of my favorite. Nearly 30 years ago, I took a trip to England to visit a friend. One day, we visited the Lake District and did some hiking and climbing. As we were about to return to the car at Dungeon Ghyll, we heard a dog frantically barking at an old shepherd, a crotchety looking fellow in tweed knickers and cap with a walking stick in hand. The dog wouldn't quit, so the shepherd had no choice but to follow him up the side of a hill. When he returned, he had a newborn lamb around his neck. The dog had done its job well.
Sheep aren't very bright. Certainly, one would expect them to be smarter than us, but there is a difference: the sheep will listen to the shepherd's voice. How many times do we hear our Shepherd's voice and choose not to listen? The amazing thing about our Shepherd is that it doesn't matter how badly we muck things up. When we are ready to return, He will be there to lead us out of the darkness. He can meet us where we are and He will not be defiled, no matter the conditions in which we are ensconced. Knowing how faithful He is to us should not lead us to think we should do as we please and take advantage of His generosity and love for us. It should compel us to never want to wound His Sacred Heart again.
If you are someone who is struggling with addiction or mental health issues, this is especially for you. You carry a cross unlike any other. Some of you feel like you will never truly be part of the church because of some flaw or deficiency that you think you have. Some of you will be lifted up, only to fall down again. No matter how many times that happens, Christ will be there to lead you. Some of you lean more heavily on Him than others. He does not care. He is there for you to lean on for as long as you need, so long as you understand that your salvation can come only from Him. Maybe you think that because some people have an aversion to you that Christ does also. Not true. A shepherd knows that despite his best efforts, the sheep are going to get dirty. Still, he goes looking for them when they are lost and carries them closely when they need him to, like the old shepherd at Dungeon Ghyll.
He wants to carry, you too. The question is: are you ready to let Him?
Posted by TLW at 8:30 PM