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By Mary Bucknall
Have you ever got lost in unfamiliar countryside after taking a wrong turning? This once happened to me a few years ago after climbing the Selborne Zig-Zag in Hampshire. Instead of finding the path back to the village along the wooded hanger and down the hill, I went through a gate across the common, further and further away from my intended destination.
Fortunately, a church came into view – and it was open. I went inside, and over the altar was a stained glass window showing the Good Shepherd bringing home the lost sheep. I suddenly identified with that lost sheep in a real way, as I had been well and truly lost myself. I was so thankful to see the gentle, powerful figure of the Shepherd there.
In Biblical times, the shepherd’s task was to guard a flock of sheep by night and day against wolves and to seek out the lost and bind up the injured and the lame. He was responsible for leading the sheep to pasture and water, and for the general health and welfare of the flock – tupping, lambing, marking, dipping, milking, shearing and a multitude of other tasks. He knew each sheep by name and called them, and they knew his voice.
I realised then that our deepest need is to know and be known personally and to love and be loved. Love is the essence of the parable of the lost sheep, which the Good Shepherd found and brought home on his shoulders. In the face of such love, what should our response be?
Our response should be to follow in the footsteps of the Good Shepherd in praise and obedience, and not to intentionally stray or get lost.
Loving shepherd of thy sheep
Keep us all, in safety keep
Nothing can thy power withstand
None can pluck us from thy hand.
Jane E. Leeson (1842)
View previous Reflection articles
A New Year’s Revelation
A New Year’s Reflection
A Christmas Reflection
Life After Death
Life’s Challenges Pt. 2
The Shattered Glass
Not Quite the Damascus Road
A Home for the Lord
The New Age of Martyrs
A God of Second Chances
Acceptance & Rejection
More Thoughts on Christmas
Thoughts on Christmas
The Vastness of Creation
Home is where the Heart is
Beyond Fear to Exhiliarating Trust
Sticks and Stones
Beauty in the Chaos
God and Creation
The Lord is near
Having fun and taking new steps with our friends
A friend who stands where we stand, and weeps with us
Remain in Me
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