Category Archives: Good Shepherd

Whose voice

Berger afar en pied
Marion Lavabre, 2009

Today I will listen for the voice of the Lord in sacred Scripture, in the quiet of alone time, in the rhythm of nature.

I will let the love and compassion of the Lord’s voice drown out the voices of fear and doubt that attempt to lure me from the peace of God’s presence.

The shepherd… walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. John 10:4

Whose voice

buen_pastor_20How do I discern the voice of Jesus when I am surrounded by a cacophony of voices?

Here’s how: The voice of Jesus  prompts me to love, forgive, let go, help out, be generous. The voice of Jesus calls me to peace, nonviolence, reconciliation, compassion. The voice of Jesus comforts, heals, reassures, encourages.

May I listen to the voice of Jesus. May my voice echo his.

Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.”  John 10:27

Moved by compassion

Vincent van Gogh, 1853-1890 Shepherd with a Flock of Sheep Nuenen, September 1884 oil on canvas Mexico City, Museo Soumaya

Vincent van Gogh, 1853-1890
Shepherd with a Flock of Sheep
Nuenen, September 1884
oil on canvas
Mexico City, Museo Soumaya

What moves my heart to feel compassion?

The 10,000 people packed in an open boat, refugees from their homes headed who knows where.

The immigrants lined up at the Salvation Army, waiting—patient, stoic—for a box of food.

My friend with cancer who has been given three months to live.

I cannot live their lives for these precious children of God, but I can be a shepherd of  kindness, encouragement, welcoming, respect, comfort, and generosity to help lighten their heavy burdens.

When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. Mark 6:34

 

Lay down your life for a moment

Anton Mauve, 1838-1888 Shepherd and Sheep oil on canvas, ca.1880 Cincinnati Museum of Art

Anton Mauve, 1838-1888
Shepherd and Sheep
oil on canvas, ca.1880
Cincinnati Museum of Art
via Wikimedia Commons

Sometimes I lay down my life for a while when a friend is in need. I put aside my own chores, amusements, or quiet time to listen and encourage. When the time is right, I take up my life again and go on.

Sometimes I lay down my life for a while when my elderly father needs an advocate. I make phone calls, ask for information, and get some answers on his behalf. When the time is right, I take up my life again and go on.

I have the power to lay down my life for the moment and help others. I have the power to take up my life again and move on without having lost myself. It is my privilege and calling to exercise this power in a way that reflects the example of Jesus, the Good Shepherd.

[Jesus said:] “No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father.” John 10:18

Followers of Christ

Good Shepherd

Early christian image of Christ as the Good Shepherd
Fourth Century A.D.
Museo Epigrafico, Rome

[The shepherd] walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. John 10:4

We follow Jesus into quiet, secluded places to pray. We follow Jesus to dine with the poor and the outcasts of society. We follow Jesus to touch those with untouchable illnesses. We follow Jesus to wash the feet of others. We follow Jesus to forgive those who betray us. We follow Jesus to love our enemies. We follow Jesus to do the will of God, however counter-cultural it may seem. We follow Jesus to die to ourselves and rise to new life.