Carstairs-Bancroft United Church
October 1, 2020
DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC
By Rev. Maria Szabo Berces
|Source: Our Daily Bread|
Beloved Carstairs Bancroft United Church Members,
Moving into a farming community I learned more about cows than in my whole previous life that I spent in big cities. It was interesting to me that they have their own personality and connections with one another. They can be close friends with some cows, while not so much with others. I didn’t know however that they tend to wander away just as easily as sheep do. Probably those of you who raised or have been raising cattle can confirm this evidence about these four-legged creatures.
The Our Daily Bread devotion that I forward to you today draws a parallel with their capacity of being lost with our human ability of wandering off from the love of God. Unfortunately, I know it very well how true it is from personal experience. Don’t we all do?
The good thing that we were created intelligent enough to learn from both the cows and the sheep and their capability of being lost. We can understand that in their roaming they become vulnerable and unprotected. Despite of being on the top of the food chain, this is exactly what happens with us if we don’t reconnect with the Source of our Life: we become vulnerable of concepts and behaviours that have toxic influence on both us and the people around us. We might lose sight of our real value identity, and as we search for meaning and satisfaction we wander further and further from the One who is the light of all human kind.
This is why finding our roots in the love of God is so essential for discovering real happiness and fulfillment, just as we were reminded about it in yesterday’s message. The good news is that as a good shepherd doesn’t give up on their sheep, our loving God hasn’t given up on us either. We are invited to hear and to remember this truth about Jesus, who called us to be the Church: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)
Grace and Peace to You All,
Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.
Living near cattle ranches as he did, humorist Michael Yaconelli noticed how cows were prone to wander while grazing. A cow would keep moving, always looking for the fabled “greener pastures.” Near the edge of the property, the cow might discover some cool fresh grass under a shade tree. Just beyond a broken-down part of the fence was a tasty clump of foliage. Then the cow might push far beyond the fence and out to the road. It slowly “nibbled” its way into being lost.
Cows aren’t alone in their roaming problem. Sheep also wander, and it’s likely that people have the biggest tendency of all to stray.
Perhaps that’s one of the reasons God compares us to sheep in the Bible. It can be easy to meander and “nibble our way” through reckless compromises and foolish decisions, never noticing how far away from the truth we’ve strayed.
Jesus told the Pharisees the story of a lost sheep. The sheep was of such value to the shepherd that he left his other sheep behind while he searched for the wandering one. And when he found the one that had strayed, He celebrated! (Luke 15:1-7).
Such is the happiness of God over those who turn back to Him. Jesus said, “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep” (v. 6). God has sent us a Savior to rescue us and bring us home. – By Cindy Hess Kasper
REFLECT & PRAY
Father in heaven, I feel lost. Have I wandered too far? Redirect my heart and show me the way home. Amen.
In what way might you be wandering in the wrong direction? What’s the first step you need to take to get back where you belong?
Throughout Scripture, people are frequently referred to as sheep (Psalms 79:13; 95:7; 100:3; Isaiah 53:6; Jeremiah 50:6; Ezekiel 34:17-22; Micah 2:12; Matthew 9:36; 10:16; John 21:15-17). One characteristic of sheep is that they tend to wander and are incapable of taking care of themselves (as we see in Luke 15:1-7). They need a shepherd to guide them to pasture and protect them from predators and thieves. Yet throughout the Bible we also see that sheep were highly valued. They provided food and clothing for the people and sacrifices for the temple. Sheep know their shepherd and respond to the shepherd’s voice. John 10:3-4 describes how the Good Shepherd—Jesus—calls His sheep individually by name and leads them. – By Alyson Kieda
Used with permission