Sunday, May 3, 2009
shepherd me, O God
I don't know much about shepherds.
I've always thought of them as loving caretakers who stayed on watch for wolves and such. Loving and patient heroes, I've pictured them gently herding their flocks, guiding them to safety, caring for their every need.
Recently I heard something about the shepherds of Jesus' day (and perhaps today, as well) that I found shocking and intriguing.
Sometimes little lambs are naughty. Instead of staying near the shepherd's side, where they would be safe, they wander off. They get caught up in brambles. Even devoured by nasty beasts if they aren't careful.
So what do the shepherds to to keep the fluffy little rascals safe?
They break their legs.
Then, while they heal, they carry them. When the lamb's wounds have healed, and only then, the shepherd allows the little one more freedom.
And those lambs? The ones who have been broken by their masters? The ones who were carried until they can walk again?
They do not stray again. Instead, they remain near the shepherd's side.
Something to think about on this Feast of The Good Shepherd.
Shepherd me O God, beyond my wants, beyond my fears, from death into life.
This image of the Good Shepherd was drawn by Seattle artist Tracy Christianson, who drew the portrait of my daughter in Jesus' arms.