John 10:1-4 (NRSV) Jesus the Good Shepherd
“Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.
In this passage, Jesus tells us that the shepherd calls the sheep by their names. The sheep will recognize his voice and follow him. He will lead us, and we will follow. Today we hear many competing voices calling to us. Our culture tells us the person with the most money, power, the greatest athlete, or the rock star is the one we should emulate. But Jesus is calling our name, too. We need to focus our attention to hear what He is asking us to do. We are the sheep, those who follow our Shepherd.
In this year of COVID, especially, we have seen more needs than any of us can satisfy by ourselves. People have lost jobs. The number of people needing food assistance has multiplied many times over. Recent weather events have destroyed people’s homes. So many people are lonely and need someone to show they care. Jesus calls to us—we only need to listen and act. The needs in our world are overwhelming. One of Lewinsville’s greatest strengths is in the number and range of opportunities where we can answer that call. The Mission and Service Ministry Group helps facilitate our efforts to help those in need. If we look through the list of our mission partners, there is something for everyone. Some of us can help build houses with Habitat, some can shop or donate food or clothing. Others can help people who don’t have a computer schedule an appointment for their COVID vaccine. Many people are lonely. The lock downs have restricted our ability to visit, but we can call, or write, and some day, visit again. And those who are able can write a check.
Working together, we can reach out to those in need. Jesus calls us by name, and we, His church respond. In one of my favorite hymns, Jesus asks who will serve, and we respond, “Here I am, Lord, Is it I, Lord? I have heard you calling in the night. I will go Lord, if you lead me, I will hold your people in my heart.”
Dear Lord, our Good Shepherd, help us to listen to your call and see the many needs that you see. Enable us to work together to respond to these needs, and to share your love with all those we meet along the way. Amen.
* “Here I am Lord” by Daniel Schutte, 1981