What happens to you, how do you feel when someone surprisingly calls you by your name? Sometimes we even ask, “How do you know my name?”
In this Sunday’s Gospel, it’s all about the behavior of the sheep AND the shepherd! The shepherd walks ahead of the sheep and the sheep follow because they recognize the voice. The shepherd knows the sheep. And the sheep know the shepherd. The shepherd calls each by name.
Leading and following, knowing each other, calling each by name! When are we shepherds and when are we sheep? And how do we live both roles? How do we come to know each other? How do we learn names?
As we continue to live as a synodal church, listening to each other’s stories and walking, accompanying, companioning one another, we are recognizing what great need we have of shepherds and sheep. We want to belong. We want someone to listen. We don’t want to be alone. We long to hear the gentle voice of the one who knows our name and desires to know all about us. How wonderful it is to be known!
As we listen to each other, we realize that not all is well with us. We come to know how violence of every kind is affecting us and our families. We long for safe space and a community that cares. We yearn for unity in our families, in our city, in our country and in our world. We want healing.
Anne Osdieck says it well when she asks the Good Shepherd to gather us in all the ways we have strayed. “We so need your shepherding now. No more wars, trafficking, no more hunger and school shootings. Never again. Let our hearts follow your healing.”
Let’s listen for the voice of the shepherd and respond to being known and called by name.
And for a musical version of this message, listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPBxYJ7iQ7M
For a woman’s preaching about this Gospel: