As always on Good Shepherd Sunday, the readings and sermon focused on the Lord as our Shepherd who cares for us, who holds back the wolves of the world on behalf of the sheep. This morning's sermon had an unusual twist toward the end: things that a good sheep should do. My thoughts went in a different direction than the minister's, though that was an interesting aspect to consider.
What does a good sheep do? It doesn't try to fight the wolves on its own without backup. It doesn't go far away from the shepherd. It listens for that voice calling back. It spends time belonging to the sheep. It enjoys the green pasture and the calm water. And as much as it should do these right things, it can realize that not all depends on one sheep alone.
What if we find ourselves in a place where we are the shepherd to someone else? We learn their names. We provide for their needs -- including safety, security, and belonging. Otherwise why should they listen to our voice? The world has something of a scorched-earth feel right now. I think there is a place for a sanctuary: Oasis evangelism.