E4B – 22 Apr 2018

E4B – 22 Apr 2018

Lavish Pastor

Message by: Fr Richard M Healey


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The image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd is one that has endured across the centuries of the Christian Church. The image of the young Jesus as the shepherd bringing home the stray or wounded lamb has been found on the walls of the catacombs, and a statue of the Good Shepherd has also been found dating back to the year 60 – only 30 years after the resurrection of Jesus. However, despite its popularity – or perhaps because of its popularity – there have been two unfortunate elements that have entered into our understanding of this image.

The first is the tendency of Christian ministers to adopt the title of ‘pastor’ and this understanding for ourselves. But what is clear in the Gospel of John 10 is that there is only one Shepherd who is noble or beautiful (better translations than ‘good’) and that is Jesus the Messiah. All Christians are as sheep in comparison to the Lord – which means we are all rather stupid, smelly and tend to wander away and get lost. In relation to Jesus, all of us need that same tender care – all of us need to be pastored – both people and ‘pastors’.

The second has also always been a problem, but with shrinking church attendance and membership is becoming more problematic. This is the tendency to understand the image of the shepherd in very safe and friendly terms. We picture the shepherd as the one who leads the sheep back into the nice, safe and warm sheepfold of the church. But in fact, the image that is used at the beginning of John 10 is of Jesus leading the sheep out of the sheepfold into the broad and good lands that lie beyond the safety of the church yard. People out there also need to hear this same voice of the Father’s love. Jesus lays down his life for them as well, since there is only one flock and one shepherd.

+Lord Jesus, as you continue to pastor us today, help us to trust in your guidance and leadership as you call us out of the safety of our church buildings into places where young people gather that we may announce to them there your love and care.

Waiting Here for You (Christy Nockels)

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