The Good Shepherd

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Reverend Rebecca Newland
6 May 2012

Psalm 23, John 10.11-18

Today we celebrated Good Shepherd Sunday. As it was the first Sunday of the month, the children and young people assisted in ministry at the 10am service.

Rebecca spoke to us about Jesus as the Good Shepherd of the sheep — sheep that recognise the shepherd's voice and follow him. As part of her talk, Rebecca told us a true story of her experience with some sheep.

One day, while she was on retreat at Galong, Rebecca walked up a hill, intending to spend some time at the top in quiet and prayer. The way up the hill was full of thorns and thistles so, after some time at the top of the hill, she decided to return by another pathway.

At the bottom of the hill, she found a deserted farmhouse and a paddock full of grazing sheep. Rebecca sat down quietly at the foot of a tree in the paddock.

After a while, a ram came up to her and stood calmly with its face just a few centimetres from hers. She spoke to it: "Hello, what a fine sheep you are … thank you for the wool, the meat …".

Later, when she stood and walked away, the ram followed her, and other sheep with it. She went out of the gate, closed it, and walked along the path just outside the fence. The sheep continued to follow her on the other side of the fence.

The ram and the other sheep knew that Rebecca was safe to be with.

We follow Jesus, Rebecca said, because he is safe. He is the good shepherd who laid down his life for the sheep.

When we want to care for others, the most important thing is just to be with them. Simply to be with another person is wonderful.

Jesus didn't drive the sheep, he led them and they knew that it was him.

It's built on trust, on enjoying each other.

St Philip's Anglican Church,
cnr Moorhouse and Macpherson Streets, O'Connor, ACT 2602.