The Good Shepherd

This is such a tender painting of Christ holding a lamb. It is based on the parable in Luke 15 where Jesus says, “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it?”

Notice the lamb that was lost and is now held by Jesus is the only one in the painting who is black—perhaps a metaphor for the “black sheep in the family.” Have you ever felt like that, like the odd one out—the one who is floundering while surrounded by those who seem to have no trouble staying “found.” Comparing ourselves to others will do that do us. Make us feel we should do more, worry less, and act better. We are weary of being “lost.”

But then I see how gently Jesus is cuddling the lamb, pulling it close to his heart, arms wrapped around it in a tender hug. I find myself comforted. I feel myself being held. I find myself relaxing into his care. The parable ends by saying, “When he has found the sheep, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.”

Being Human connection: Jesus is rejoicing over you, the sheep in his arms—even if you may feel like the “black” one. He has searched for you. Called you by name. Scooped you up. Brought you home. Relax in the arms of his grace. You—a sheep of his own fold, a lamb of his own flock, a sinner of his own redeeming—belong to him, the Good Shepherd. Hallelujah and amen.

I am reminded of another well-known scripture with sheep—the 23rd Psalm. I hope you enjoy this poem by Sally Fisher titled, Here in the Psalm.

I am a sheep
and I like it
because the grass
I lie down in
feels good and the still
waters are restful and right
there if I’m thirsty
and though some valleys
are very chilly there is a long
rod that prods me so I
direct my hooves
the right way
though today
I’m trying hard
to sit at a table
because it’s expected
required really
and my enemies—
it turns out I have enemies—
are watching me eat and
spill my drink
but I don’t worry because
all my enemies do
is watch and I know
I’m safe if I will
just do my best
as I sit on this chair
that wobbles a bit
in the grass
on the side of a hill.

Featured art: Minerva Teichert, Rescue of The Lost Lamb, 1939