SCRIPTURE: Jeremiah 31:10 (TM) - larger reading: Jeremiah 31:10-14
"Hear this, nations! God's Message! Broadcast this all over the world! Tell them, 'The One who scattered Israel will gather them together again. From now on he'll keep a careful eye on them, like a shepherd with his flock.'
Dr. Andrew Bonar shared that in the Highlands of Scotland, a sheep would often wander off into the rocks and get into places that they couldn't get out of. The grass on these mountains is very sweet and the sheep like it, and they will jump down ten or twelve feet, and then they can't jump back again, and the shepherd hears them bleating in distress. They may be there for days, until they have eaten all the grass. The shepherd will wait until they are so faint they cannot stand, and then they will put a rope around him, and he will go over and pull that sheep up out of the jaws of death. "Why don't they go down there when the sheep first gets there?" he was asked. "Ah!" He said, "they are so very foolish they would dash right over the precipice and be killed if they did!"
I am a parent. My two grown children have children of their own. It is kind of hard imagining that these two beautiful daughters have their own children. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was changing their diapers? They also have husbands. They have responsible jobs. They have their own homes. And yet, I seek to stay connected… regularly. I want to hear from them often. Once a day is too much in my book, but I think I am wise enough to allow them to be the one making the contact. Does that make me a bad father or just a concerned parent? I would like to think that I’m just a concerned parent… and in case you were wondering, not the hovering kind.
Maybe I just consider them to be like the sheep in Dr. Bonar’s story. Good healthy sheep that go wandering off in search of something better. Well, maybe they aren’t quite like Dr. Bonar’s sheep… but I sure am. Truly, I am a piece of work. Aren’t you? Be honest now…
There is a little of that “wandering sheep” thing in each of us… and we do get lost, stranded, and often into situations from which we cannot, for the love of cheese grits, get ourselves out of. Shepherd to the rescue! Can’t you hear the bugle blaring from the arriving cavalry? Bring them on because each of us needs to be rescued.
Resurrection declares loud and clear that God, our God, declares life worth living. The resurrection is God affirming that this life in the here and now is great and worth living. The resurrection can free us from all of our “wandering off” thinking and behaving. The resurrection makes a statement that the Great Shepherd is not leaving us alone in this mean old world. Yea, God… because we really need a loving and caring Great Shepherd.
Gather us from our wandering ways. Give new direction to our wandering soul. Please continue with your rescuing ways.