Thursday, November 4, 2010

I just wanna be a sheep - and a saint too!

When I was leading a ministry to and of children a few years back, traveling across Southern Ontario, I would teach the following song to children (and adults too!):

I just want to be a sheep, bah, bah, bah, bah

I just want to be a sheep, bah, bah, bah, bah

I pray the Lord my soul to keep,

I just want to be a sheep, bah, bah, bah, bah

I realize that being a sheep these days is probably a negative thing. It is used for people who just follow the rest of the flock and never critically consider what is going on. No… in this day and age everyone is expected to be a hero or heroine; a person who is master of the destiny and who takes orders and nonsense from no one. Everyone has to be super. And you cannot be super if everyone else is super. And this is as true inside the Church as it is outside of the Church.

Now I not suggesting that everyone give up the hopes and ambitions, fall back in line with bowed heads behind the Shepherd, unless you find yourselves in the position that you need to. In fact I would encourage us to ask and try to imagine what this world would be like if the Church really was following the Shepherd. What kind of difference could we as Church make in the world if we were the sheep we ought to be, as often as we can be?

Christians are supposed to be people through whom the grace, love and mercy of God flows; the Church are people through whom the Son shines. In a word, we are supposed to be saints. Saints, not sheep. There is nothing particularly holy about sheep until you stop and consider that the Shepherd is also the Lamb. And that the Lamb surrendered his life so that we as his sheep, his flock might live. We follow the Lamb through the Valley of the Shadow of Death and we recognize his power to feed us, to clam us and to and protect us. We know that he has the kind of grace and mercy that will pursue us right into the House of God. That is the kind of sheep, the kind of shepherd he is.

As sheep, as people who are living the risen life, we can live in ways that take us beyond the limits of just life because we know the powerful grace of a willing Saviour and the love an eternal Father. Eternity is not just what happens at the end of life. It is happening right here in the middle of life, just as God has intended. Heaven is no reward for being a nice or even a good, law abiding person. Life with God is not an extension of this life. This life and this world have been overcome by Christ through his death and resurrection. This means that the old has going and the new is coming. And in all this, God binds them together, guiding us into the new life in the new creation. God still lives, still works, continues to transform and to reign in the lives of his people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand. People like you, like me. We are made God’s people, God’s flock through the Spirit of Christ who is leading us on the way to home pastures. So, may you find yourself whistling, humming or sing, I just want to be a sheep and discover that you are a saint too!

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