The Good Shepherd And His Sheep.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”
I sat in a meeting last week and we had all come to the table feeling tired, distracted, and trying to beat the post lunch slump. With that a friend spoke up and suggested it might be good to pray to focus, reflect and centre ourselves.
What happened next was..all of that!
She started praying 'Be still and Know that I am God' and if you know this practice of prayer it ends with the word ‘Be’. I had forgotten all about this prayer. You could feel the air change in the room. We even talked about the effect of this prayer afterwards. What I’m trying to say is, so often we try explain or find different ways of saying things when sometimes the most effective is the simplest.
The passage for this week is just that….so effective and so simple but very powerful. I tried to come at it from 3 different angles but it was falling flat on its face every single time because it is right there. I mean, I even researched the characteristics of sheep!! Jesus even went to the point of using a metaphor to describe what He was doing and who He was. To try write something about the passage would dilute it.
This passage in other versions reads exactly the same bar a couple of word changes. I was not and cannot do this justice and that is ok because it’s passages like these that need to lead us to a place of simple, effective yet powerful reflection. I refuse to grasp at straws. I have to stop that nagging voice in my head, that says ‘You have to find something…’
When my friend prayed that prayer at our meeting, I was drawn to a place where I reflected on the words rather than trying to come up with my prayer when it was my turn. The same is true of this.
Stop grasping at straws, stop overthinking. Sit back, read and reflect. I’ve already said too much.
Susie Keegan is a creative, a font nerd, a graphic designer and the Diocesan Youth Officer for the Dublin Diocese of Dublin and Glendalough. Use ‘Comic Sans’ in the wrong context and you’ll feel her wrath! Being an author on this blog has really pushed her comfort zone and she is very happy to be part of this community.