Thursday's Thought for Sunday's Service 

May 4, 2017

Dear Friends,

This week’s Thursday’s Thought for Sunday’s Service is based upon John 10:1-10:

““Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them. Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:1–10, NIV) 

When someone calls my name, I feel reassured with a comforting idea… someone else knows me, at least a little bit.  Familiarity like this is also certainly present within a modestly sized group of family and friends, where an affirming idea implied by name recognition expands to reveal greater support, especially when confronting problems and challenges.  It’s through this lens that we can more fully understand the compelling power of this passage because when moving to a larger stage, we quickly encounter a world filled with many messages, so much so that we are literally, constantly bombarded with them morning, noon, and night.  In this wider environment, it’s harder to know how to react to what we read and hear, where to look for guidance, or what basis from which to make decisions.  Is it any wonder that a new phrase has developed through our political speech, “fake news,” suggesting that some out of the many of the messages we receive are not true?

Family and friends might be enough to keep us grounded in a much more expansive space, but this passage suggests an even better source to whom we can turn, someone who knows our name – the shepherd of the sheep.

Even though I tend to creep

toward what is fake, flawed, cheap

... those things aside I should sweep.

The good shepherd of the sheep

helps steer to a place and reap

a better outcome, to keep.

 

Pastor Rich Wagner