Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Fifth Wednesday in Lent

Psalm 119:145-176Jeremiah 25:30-38Romans 10:14-21John 10:1-18
“Sleep, Baby Sleep, thy shepherd tends the sheep . . .”
This lullaby is sung to soothe a crying infant or young child; it brings comfort at times of recollection. Its pastoral, peaceful quality can restore calm in the face of chaos, upheaval, or danger. Like a slow, deep meditative breath, it is restorative. Bringing us back to our own center, or to Jesus at the center, it reminds us of Jesus as the Good Shepherd, and where our thoughts can be—in faith, in trust, and in Jesus.

The Psalmist cries out longingly for a shepherd, for guidance, redirection, and perhaps forgiveness. “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.”

The Good Shepherd, Jesus, “calleth his own sheep by name and leadeth them out.” He leads the sheep and “the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.” This voice is of a distinct shepherd, not any old shepherd, but specifically Jesus. The voice of Jesus, like the voice of God speaking to Jesus in the wilderness, stands alone. It is Jesus, who “came that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” And moreover that YOU might have life and YOU might have it more abundantly.

Young children ask me daily to guard their treasures, sticks, stones, a leaf, so that they might continue in play without any worry about the precious items that they have discovered and brought to my attention. I lovingly tend these items, appreciating the reverence for these natural items, and freeing the children from angst about them while they continue to play. Similarly Jesus asks us to give our cares to him so that he might tend them while watching over us.

The shepherd’s watchfulness offers reassurance, Christ is with us, ever-present, offering this to each of us. With God’s grace I pray that we will hear our name, and follow, not passively, but actively with the assurance and conviction that Jesus is guarding and guiding us forward so that we might all have life more abundantly in the deepest sense, with Jesus at the center.

— Kelley Lewis

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