By Rev. Chris Sanders
Christ United Methodist Church Neptune Beach, FL
My family recently added a new puppy to our household, whom we named Maggie. After a few months of living together, Maggie trusts us, completely. She knows that we love her, will take care of her, and provide for her needs.
It brings a smile to our face when we arrive home and Maggie greets us with much excitement, showing how happy she is to see us. We have trained her and she follows our commands, most of the time. She knows our voices and comes running to us, when called by name.
My wife and I act as Maggie’s shepherds. We are responsible for guiding and protecting her. When she is out of our sight for a period of time, we find ourselves searching for her, in order to make sure that she is not getting into trouble. She knows our voices and we know her bark and her personality. She is an integrated part of our family.
In today’s text, Jesus reminds us that he is our good shepherd. When we are lost, we are sought for by God’s unrelenting grace and unconditional love. When we stray from Jesus’ teaching, the Holy Spirit reminds us of Christ’s lessons, showing us the way. Through our response to God’s sanctifying grace, our lives become closer to The Good Shepherd and we grow in our capacity to love God and one another.
We are so precious to Christ, the Good Shepherd, that he willingly left his heavenly throne to become human and offer the entirety of his life for our sake and for our salvation. Walking and living among us The Good Shepherd gave us signposts, as to how we are to live.
Prayer: Lord, Good Shepherd of my life. Guide me today to Your will, keep me from harm, and seek me when I go astray. Help me to know Your voice. I am Yours and You are mine. Lead me and I will follow. Amen.
1. In what ways, do you recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd?
2. When in your life has the voice and guidance of the Good Shepherd been most clear? The most obscured?
3. What spiritual disciplines do you regularly practice that help you connect with the Good Shepherd?