Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Fresh Look at the Good Shepherd

Because we don't live in the countryside outside Jerusalem 2000 years ago we aren't always able to understand and appreciate the parables that Jesus told.  Psalm 23 and John 10 both talk about how the Lord is like a Good Shepherd who risks sacrificing everything for his sheep.  I recently wrote the story below and shared it as narrator for the morning message in worship.  The pastor portrayed the Good Shepherd,  a lay member of the church portrayed the young and foolish shepherd. The children in attendance portrayed the sheep.  A teen portrayed the wolf.    In acting out the story, the entire congregation was enabled to visualize and appreciate in a new way what Jesus really meant when he talked about the shepherd laying down his life for his sheep and so faithfully caring for them.  

Once there was a Good Shepherd who faithfully cared for his flock of sheep.
By day the shepherd led his sheep to green pastures and streams of water so that they might be well nourished and grow up healthy and strong.
As evening fell the shepherd took his flock to a sheep pen where they could take their rest in peace, unmolested by wild animals or thieves.  Then the shepherd himself lay down to guard the entrance to the sheep pen.
One night the sheep became restless and agitated.  A wolf had caught their scent and was lurking and skulking about the sheep pen looking for a way in, but the wolf could not get over or through the wall.  Frustrated and hungry, the wolf was not about to give up.  He found his way to the sheep gate where the shepherd was asleep on the ground.  The wolf sneaked toward the sheep thinking he had found his way into the pen.  As the wolf drew near the shepherd –who hadn’t been sleeping at all- suddenly sat up. Taking aim with his sling shot he fired at the wolf.  He intended to stun the wolf, but this wolf was very hungry.  After being shot with the sling shot he was just plain mad.  The wolf leapt at the shepherd.  When the struggle was over both the wolf and the shepherd were wounded and bloodied, but the wolf ran away, abandoning his hoped for meal.
The shepherd knew if he didn’t move his flock the wolf would only return again and again.  So he called to his flock and led them out to a new pasture and sheep pen several days travel away.  Along the way he met another shepherd by the name of Simon.  Simon was not a bad shepherd. He cared for his sheep.  But he was young and not especially wise.  As the sheep were settled in the pen for the night and the two shepherds sat down together under the stars, Simon told his story to the Good Shepherd.