Between the Lines: Easter 4: April 29, 2012

Text:  John 10:11-18

Wolf in Kolmården Zoo (Sweden).

Wolf in Kolmården Zoo (Sweden). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.

Make a list of all the sheep—loved ones, responsibilities, institutions, ideas, dreams— you are charged with shepherding. Which of these sheep truly belong to your flock? Which have been hired into your hand by others? Who are the masters that assign these foreign sheep into your care? Why do they need or want your help? What is the pay they offer in exchange? What branding or other demarcation enables you to separate your sheep from theirs? When the wolves come at night, as they always do, which sheep do you sacrifice? For which sheep are you willing to lay down your own life? What strategies, if any, do you use to make that determination?

When morning finally arrives after those long, dark nights spent on guard against the wolves, and you begin counting the remaining members of your flock, are you surprised by what has survived? Do you find yourself happy and grateful that you’ve been able to keep the sheep that are dearest to your heart? Or do you find yourself in despair over the terrible loss—grief-stricken, bitter, resentful, and woefully underpaid?

– Kathie Collins


“Between the Lines” is excerpted from BibleWorkbench, a weekly resource for engaging the biblical story in a new way published by the Educational Center in Charlotte, NC. BibleWorkbench includes a series of open-ended questions focused on a reading in the Common Lectionary aimed at drawing readers into the story and making connections with the world around them and the world within. Also included are “Between the Lines” reflections, Parallel Readings from literature, poetry, and the news, and Critical Background on the text and its setting. For details and subscription information, go to www.educationalcenter.org.
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