Shepherds and Sheep

“How could the lovely name Good Shepherd be corrupted? Perhaps the fact that many of us immediately associate loveliness or coziness with it is perhaps a sign of its distortion.

“The name is corrupted if I coddle myself by imagining being carried as a lamb in the arms of a strong shepherd when I should probably be prodded with a stout rod instead. The former comfortable image was fostered by the stained glass window at the front of the sanctuary where I worshiped as a child. It depicted a not-very-Jewish, pristine Jesus surrounded by docile and purely white sheep. That window held no hints of the rough work of shepherding or the earthiness and stupidity of sheep.

“The lamb being carried in the window was cute and clean, a creature you certainly would want to rescue. It didn’t show me what a lost lamb would really look like — scraggly, mud-caked, maybe bloody, stinky, really LOST.”

Marva Dawn in Talking the Walk, p. 35.

One thought on “Shepherds and Sheep

  1. Having just seen real sheep and shepherds in Kenya, I would say she is absolutely right. Real sheep are covered in grit and grime, mud, not pretty at all, often scattered over a mountain side, in need of guidance. The shepherd's task appears difficult and requires patience, attentiveness, and care.

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