Prayer: Holy Lord, it is through You that we find the peace of Christ. Holy Lord, it is through You that we find the love of Christ. Holy Lord, it is through You that we find Your great mercy. Amen.
Read St. John 10:1 – 19
Jesus continues teaching the Teachers of the law and the Pharisees and the disciples about the sheep pen gate and sheep. Jesus begins by saying that a man who enters a sheep pen by climbing over a wall is a thief and a robber. All who would be listening to Jesus would be nodding. Indeed this was true. Shepherds would use the sheep pen gate to come and go. And his sheep would know him when he entered by his movements and his voice. The stranger who tries to lead the sheep from the sheep pen will not be able to lead the sheep away as sheep will never follow a stranger.
Those who are listening are stumped. What was Jesus trying to say? They understood the image of the shepherd and the sheep but what was Jesus really trying to say? Jesus continues by saying that He is the Gate for the sheep. He is the gate through whom all are saved. If anyone enters through Christ, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. It is only through Christ that we will find peace (pasture). Christ comes that we may have life. We listen to Christ’s voice because we know him and love him.
What a wonderful image! We will be saved and we will go in and out and find green pasture. This image is an image of peace and love. When you think of this image of a pasture, what comes into your mind? Picture your image of pasture and put Christ in this image and yourself sitting beside Christ. Think about what the love and peace of Christ mean to you as a Christian.
Ministry of Word and Sacrament is all about going in and out and finding pasture. Ministers are often called the "shepherds" of the Church. Ministers lead us spiritually by example in word and deed. In Brandon there is a man named Pedro. Pedro is Pastor at a Spanish speaking congregation (not Presbyterian but I wish he was!!). We met Pedro in his job cleaning the Armoury. Pedro also works at Maple Leaf in the slaughter house. This is hard work. We frequently ask Pedro when he sleeps. He laughs and says that God gives him rest when it is needed. We could all learn from Pedro. Many Ministers of Word and Sacrament complain that they are far far too busy to visit or pray for people or help those in need. Yet, this is exactly what Christ told in his parable. What kind of a Shepherd is Jesus talking about? Jesus says that Shepherds guide their "sheep" and call their "sheep" to Christ. Pedro says that he would like to give up working at Maple Leaf but there are 900 people on his shift who need the love of God. Pedro does not stomp Christianity into people's lives but lives a life that makes people say, "What do you have that I don't". Pedro listens and guides new immigrants into life in Canada... and then continues to pray for each person he meets each day as well as the 900 people at Maple Leaf as well as the congregational families as well as the Regimental Officers and Staff at the Regiment. Wow. We can all take a lesson from Pedro. Christ comes that we may have life. We listen to Christ's voice because we know him and love him. Let us go and find the sheep who need a shepherd this day. May we all go in and out and share the love of the Shepherd with all peoples.
This day, how will you go in and out and find pasture?
Prayer: This day as we venture forth O God, may we find a resting place in You. May our Churches be a shelter from the storm for those who need rest and peace. This we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.