Sunday 07 May 2017

Bible Book:

“I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.” (v. 9)

John 10:1-10 Sunday 7 May 2017

Psalm: Psalm 23


I'm in two minds over this passage. It always takesme back to the only sermon I've heard that I can remember it itsentirety. A tutor in my college chapel began by quoting a line fromthe hymn The King of love my shepherd is "and on hisshoulder gently laid and home rejoicing brought me". He then lookedat us and said, "Sheep are horrible, dirty, smelly creatures. Soare you! Amen." That was it and it has stayed with me for over 30tyyears, and I still reflect on it. There is something of inclusivityhere, however we see ourselves, the sense of God shouldering ushowever little we or the world values us.

But I have another reflection. Shepherd theology inthe Hebrew Scriptures is related to kingship. The king was theshepherd of the people. Kingship joined politics and theology, andlinked ultimate power with pastoral care. Think of Psalm23, "The Lord's my shepherd". We tend to think of Jesus asshepherd and us as sheep. For the Jews, a different mental leap wasmade. And it was reinforced every year. The king was crowned, butthen every year reminded of his responsibility, to rule yet also tocare and always to remember that any authority he had cameultimately from God. A good king used power with humility to keephis people safe, and to shepherd them because they were valuable.That was the ideal.

Who rules like a king today? In a constitutionalmonarchy, it's more likely the politicians. And that places aresponsibility on those who rule and we who elect them to look forthose qualities of right use of power, but also of care of eventhose who see themselves least worthy. I wonder if we could live upto that?


To Ponder

  • How do we use our power?
  • How does being Christian influence how we use our power?

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