Reign of Christ or Christ the King
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
“I, the Sovereign Lord, tell you that I myself will look for my sheep and take care of them in the same way as shepherds take care of their sheep that were scattered and are brought together again. I will bring them back from all the places where they were scattered on that dark, disastrous day. I will take them out of foreign countries, gather them together, and bring them back to their own land. I will lead them back to the mountains and the streams of Israel and will feed them in pleasant pastures. I will let them graze in safety in the mountain meadows and the valleys and in all the green pastures of the land of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will find them a place to rest. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken. “I will look for those that are lost, bring back those that wander off, bandage those that are hurt, and heal those that are sick.
‘Shepherding his flock’ took on a deeper understanding when I was helping a friend, a lifelong farmer. I offered to assist one day as he worked with his flock of ewes and lambs. The pens were full and the bleating was loud. As he drew one ewe through the gate, he raised his head to some agitated bleating. From my perspective, the pen was filled with sheep backs reminiscent of a bumpy, woolly blanket. However, he scanned the flock of 100 or so, jumped the fence, and waded through the flock directly to a particular lamb, who was indeed bleating loudly, as were many others. He scooped it up in his arms and brought it to the agitated mother, placing it over the fence with a calming firmness and gentle “There you go.” Then he went on with his work. The shepherd knew his flock. He listened deeply, saw clearly, and responded with kindly strength and just actions.
As we draw to the end of this paddock of our Church year, where the star droppers and fences have kept moving, the valleys have been shadowed and the hill tops became dry and windswept, God has been right at the heart of where ever we found ourselves.
The Good Shepherd seeks us, greets us, gathers us, guides us, refreshes us, knows us, understands us,
holds us, heals us, and enables us to find home where we belong.
Rev Anne Hewitt
Prayer of the Shepherded Flock
We have felt scattered across this year’s paddock.
The regular tracks we have followed for years,
did not lead us to the usual known spaces.
The boundary fences of expectations fell and unravelled.
The comfortable fleece that had blanketed and warmed our souls,
tore in tufts on the barbwire of restrictions,
and disappeared in fibres blown away with the winds of change.
Isolation separated us from our flock,
some of whom fell into the shadowlands.
Our grieving and loss aches in the midst of our days.
Dust storms of uncertainty covered pathways forward.
We found clear tracks to follow for a while,
before these were subsumed again.
Yet, you gathered our scattered souls in unexpected ways,
Bringing us to different refreshing streams
and mountains of hope rise before us.
Grazing on different ways of nourishing our souls,
we travelled through valleys to new paddocks.
We found rest and peace in unexpected spaces.
For you, Good Shepherd,
look for the lost, bring us from wandering to a place of rest.
You bandage our hurts with love, and heal our being with love.
In you, we find belonging and our home.