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    Reflection: To Know and Be Known

    By Mary Bucknall

    sheepHave 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
    Choices, Choices
    Intelligent Machines
    Life After Death
    Life’s Challenges Pt. 2
    The Shattered Glass
    Not Quite the Damascus Road
    A Home for the Lord
    The Chair

    The New Age of Martyrs

    A God of Second Chances
    Acceptance & Rejection
    New Lights
    New Things
    More Thoughts on Christmas
    Thoughts on Christmas

    The Vastness of Creation

    Unexpected Treasure

    Life’s Challenges
    Home is where the Heart is
    Beyond Fear to Exhiliarating Trust
    Sticks and Stones
    Beauty in the Chaos
    God and Creation
    Perfect Timing
    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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