The words from Jeremiah were primarily aimed at the priests and religious leaders. They are hard words for we clergy, as they should be. Yet, they are no longer words solely for the clergy. As a part of the priesthood of believers, they are for you, too. It might seem odd though as you may not be aware of even having a flock.
First, of course, is your family. However, for Christians, it expands far beyond the family. In fact, focusing too much on the family may blind us to our flock. Our flock may consist of coworkers, neighbors, even the staff of the restaurants you patronage.
The flock of your care is much like the Ephesians that Paul wrote to. He noted that at one point they were alien to the faith and alien to God. They were not in relationship with the Creator of the universe. In the current era, we need Jesus to break down the barrier of hatred that has been building up between the church and the world. This is not to say that we have to crucify Christ once more. It does signify the importance of the sacrifice, and just how important this wall is, along with our responsibility to tear down as far as is in our power and capability.
Our ability to work through this is similar to how Jesus saw the people who surrounded him. They had no shepherd. The world is much the same. Hence the tossing to and fro between this idea and that one.
We cannot be the True Shepherd, but we can lead people to Him.
One of the biggest ways is to be the healer. The world needs a lot of healing. The division of politics is a big one. Yet, there is the reckoning with the failures and (yes) sins of those that went before us. There are many things that need to be healed, and many of them are not on the evening news or the 24-hour news channels because they are not dramatically bad.
It is the little things in everyday lives that build up into large wounds that need healing. We see the big ones, but the reality is that the big ones were usually built on a bunch of little ones. Whether they were wounds in everyday life or wounds made in the church, it doesn’t matter. Because of who the husband of the church is (Jesus), we the church have the ability, perspective, and responsibility to heal the world.
- Why do you think each person of the church is called to be a shepherd?
- Why is important for us to recognize our responsibility to help to heal the world?
- What is one wound that you have that you see in the world, too? How might you help the world heal that wound? Would help others through that wound help your own healing?
Lord, we hear the voice of you, Our Shepherd. May we obediently follow your voice and your will. Amen.