Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Why did he leave the 99?

The parable of the lost sheep is familiar to us and it resonated with Jesus' listeners so many centuries ago.

From the days of Abraham down to modern times, sheep have abounded in the Holy Land. The shepherd had many duties such as finding them food and water and a shaded place to rest. And to watch diligently against thieves, 2 legs or 4. In this parable the shepherd is responsible for 100 of them. At some point in the day he must have taken count and realize one was missing. The sheep know their shepherd's voice and come when called. But the missing sheep does not answer.

These animals were beloved of their families who called them by name. They must not stray from his protection for they are utterly helpless. Being responsible for them he will spend hours  searching for one, usually found in some desolate mountain ravine. It will be frightened and exhausted and he will carry it home on his shoulders.

Mrs. Eddy assures us with this from Science and Health: "Spiritual man is the image or idea of God, an idea which cannot be lost nor separated from its divine Principle." (303:28-30)

If you think you have wandered away from God, if you seem to have lost your way remember that "Love inspires, illumines, designates and leads the way." The way out, the way home, the way forward it always available to you. God loves you as one of His own flock.

I've been thinking about this thought expressed in the Novembe4r 29, 1993 Sentinel by Right Reverend Desmond Tutu:

"...God is like the good shepherd who goes out looking for the lost sheep. We are misled by the religious pictures which depict Jesus as the good shepherd carrying a cuddly white lamb on His shoulder. A lamb will  hardly stray from its mother. It is the troublesome, obstreperous sheep which is likely to go astray, going through the fence, having its wool torn and probably ending up in a ditch of dirty water. It is this dirty, smelly, riotous creature which the Good Shepherd goes after, leaving the good, well-behaved ninety-nine sheep in the wilderness, and when He finds it, why, He carries it on His shoulder and calls His friends to celebrate with Him."

In times distress we should listen for our Shepherd's voice. We know it. We know him. And when he calls, we answer, 'here I am!' and he carries us safely home.

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