This morning, a phrase from yesterday’s sermon text is playing over and over in my head:
“He had compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd.”
And I keep thinking –
what about the shepherds who really shouldn’t be followed?
what about shepherds who seem like the real deal, but later turn out to be more interested in anything but being a shepherd?
or the shepherds who would rather argue about which sheep shearing rules were the best to follow?
and then there are the sheep… you know…
the ones who act like shepherds but choose to work in certain areas only, like just out of sight of the head shepherd.
or the ones who have a perfectly good shepherd which they simply prefer not to follow.
or the sheep who really just want to tell the shepherd what work to do, and when and how to do it.
It occurs to me that when any given flock is more concerned with any of the above, there’s no time to have compassion for all those sheep who have really been abandoned or who have wandered off, out of range of the shepherd’s voice. You know, the ones who are sick, lonely, tired, confused, empty – the ones Jesus saw wandering around. The ones he chose to be with EVERY SINGLE TIME.
Here are Jesus’ thoughts on the matter: “You give them something to eat!”