[#pictureLent] March 24: SHEPHERD

By Liz Perraud
GenOn Ministries
Columbia, Maryland

First, read Psalm 23: 1-4 

I remember my Sunday school classroom in the education wing of the little church and I can picture where I sat at the table--facing the windows looking out at the parking lot. Did I sit there every week or do I just remember this particular Sunday when I was ready to recite the 23rd Psalm? 

I memorized the passage in the King James Version and I'm still inclined to say "maketh," "restoreth," and "leadeth." Growing up I was dropped at the Sunday school door. My parents didn't attend church much but my mom felt it was important for me to be there, so I went regularly. 

I loved attending Sunday school and it's where I met the Lord as my shepherd. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. The kind of shepherd-- 

who makes me lie down and rest
who leads me
who restores my soul
who remains with me
who comforts me
Our calling as followers of Christ is to live out what Jesus modeled for us as the Good Shepherd and so to shepherd one another.  
To help others find time and place to rest.  
To stay alert for when others need restoration.  
To remain beside others and to comfort in darkest of times.  
To help others see the path of a life-giving relationship with God.  

We are imperfect shepherds because we are not the Good Shepherd. That's okay. We are to shepherd one another anyway. Despite our imperfectness. Through our imperfectness. Because of our imperfectness.  

Shepherding one another begins with a relationship and becomes more possible through a deepened relationship--where we become so connected that we don't know who is the shepherd and who is the sheep. This connectedness is the core of the Christ-centered community and the foundation of Kingdom of God living.

Prayer: Holy God, thank you for sending the Good Shepherd to live and work among us and then to die and live again for us. Send your spirit to blow through our community as we seek to shepherd one another in the name of Christ. Amen. 

Discussion/Reflection Questions:  

1. Who do you know who needs shepherding and why?  
2. Where in your community do relationships need to be strengthened and what could you do about that?  
3. Is there a part of your life where you need a shepherd? Describe that need and consider who you might ask to be that shepherd.  
4. Where have you experienced Jesus as your Good Shepherd?