One of the richest metaphors for the relationship between Jesus and us is that of shepherd and sheep (we’re the sheep in case you are wondering). In fact, it is such a rich metaphor that I’m certain there are a bunch of nuances completely lost on me because we don’t have a lot of opportunities to interact with sheep and shepherds at all, let alone in the context Jesus enjoyed. That being said, we don’t have to know everything about any metaphor to get real value from it.
In past years I have focused on the sheep aspect but this year I was drawn to “shepherd.” What does it mean that Jesus is a shepherd? Our shepherd? What did it mean for for him and for us?
Of all the useful things in the sermons the one I hadn’t really considered until this week was how Jesus’ experience of laying his life down as both a completely voluntary act and in obedience to God’s command is an example of the non-dual, paradoxical(?), nature of the spiritual life. How do we act in obedience to God while still doing what we want to? Can we? I think we can. If you don’t think I made a sufficiently compelling case, let me know in the comments.