God-Shepherd, Good-Shepherd

By Fr. Adolf Washington –

At Sunday school, a teacher speaking of the various Biblical imageries of God’s love said “Jesus is like a Good shepherd and we are like sheep in His watchful care”. A little girl stood up saying “Teacher I’m not a sheep. How can Jesus call me a sheep I’m not dumb, I’m a person”. It took some time for the teacher to explain the symbolism of God’s love.

There were two types of shepherds in Jesus’ time. The first is the hired- shepherd who works for a wage, wouldn’t take much risks and can flit from one flock to another depending on his wages and benefits. So there’s no flock or owner-loyalty. In modern parlance, ‘company-loyalty takes the back-seat when a rival Company offers better salary and perks to employees’.

The second is the ‘shepherd-cum owner of the sheep’ who grazes his own sheep in the best pastures, gives them lovely names like we give our lovely pets at home, calls them by name and they respond to his voice. He can tell the naughty from the good, but loves them all because they are his own. He bandages their wounds like we do for our wounded pets. The innocent or naughty ones he may even carry on his shoulders or keep them closer to him so they don’t stray. When they go missing, he even risks his life searching for them.

The Gospel (John 10:27-30) presents the image of God as a Good Shepherd who possesses us as His own, knows our wounds, our naughtiness, our goodness, our voice, our name and just about everything we go through in life.

We need not do anything to merit his love, love flows from His very nature. When we experience this closeness to the Shepherd-God, we experience security even when human love and relationships fail us.

A dad tired of telling bedtime stories to his little daughter, recorded stories and gave her the recorder saying “my child, listen to whatever you like”. Days later she complained “Dad, the stories are good from the recorder, but there’s no lap to rest upon”.

All the world’s love stories cannot comfort us enough until we rest in the lap of those who love us. So, rest in the lap of the God-Shepherd, the Good-Shepherd.

Fr. Adolf Washington can be reached at: adolfwashington@gmail.com

Courtesy: Deccan Herald