A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Leading the Sheep Home: Mark 6:30-44

The crowd apparently was enormous in size: �Five thousand men� writes Mark (6:44). He doesn�t mention women and children but they were there also. The mass of humanity was moving themselves toward the Galilean shore. They looked for the boat that carried Jesus and his friends. The crowd greatly wanted to see the amazing teacher from Nazareth. They were like buzzing bees in a hive, looking for the queen. They wanted to see Jesus.

And, of course, Jesus wanted to see them. But what he saw bothered him. They seemed so desperately in need of direction. They appeared to be confused, hoping for someone to tell them what to do, what to believe. Mark tells us that Jesus �had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.�

Being lost or confused or without direction is a common dilemma, even in today�s world. We talk about people who have not found themselves. We see people hiding from life because they really don�t know what to do, where to find meaning, where to discover joy and fulfillment. So many find life too painful to fully engage in it. They are restless; they are searching. They are hoping that someone will help them make sense of life, that it is not, in Shakespeare�s words, �a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.� They are profoundly and desperately lost.

The people huddled on the lakeshore where Jesus was to land were also desperate for meaning and direction. Surely they were a pitiful sight to behold. They had no one to show them how to gain the fullness of life; no one to show them the joy that comes from doing God�s will; and no one to tell them what a later saint said: �In God�s will there is perfect peace.� Jesus set out to do that very thing. The Good Shepherd was there to lead them out of their maze of confusion and show them how to live an abundant and joyful life.

If you go to Jerusalem today, you will see sheep nibbling away in grassy areas of the city. Nearby you will also see a shepherd sitting. He watches his flock all day. If they need water, he provides it. If there is danger from cars or dogs, he tries to keep them safe. Then, as the sun begins to sink, he gathers them close and leads them home to the sheepfold he has for them.

Our Savior does the same for us. As the old psalm has it, he leads us in �right paths.� He walks with us through shadowy valleys, the dark places of life. He comforts us with his presence and protection. He bestows �goodness and mercy� all the days of our lives, and we know that, because of him, we will get through life whole and make it finally to the Father�s eternal home.

1 comment:

Ted M. Gossard said...

Amen Allan!
We are so like sheep. One of my favorite hymns is "Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us", that my cousin Ron Boyer sang at Deb's and my wedding.
So good top reflect on Jesus as our good Shepherd.