Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
- Psalm 100:3
If you happen to be from a faith tradition that differs from Christianity, or perhaps you come from a tradition of having no particular faith at all, you might not enjoy today's blog...though I hope that at minimum, you might find it interesting.
While reading today's scripture lessons, I found that I wanted to write about several different ideas...my decision to write about sheep was partly influenced by the spiritual lessons, and partly because I found the subject-matter entertaining! I hope you'll be likewise entertained.
I did a bit of internet research on the subject of sheep, and wanted to share some helpful insights with you, in the unlikely event that you find yourself raising sheep at some point in your future...
"Why Raising Sheep is Fun"
1. Your lamb will recognize you and know its feeding time when she sees you.
2. Walking a lamb every day after school can be relaxing.
3. Keeping yourself dry while washing a lamb is impossible.
4. Wet sheep smell like wet wool.
This is "must know" information, so be sure to keep it handy for future reference!
On a spiritual note, sheep have much to teach us, and it is not by accident that the scripture is full of verses that describe us as "the sheep of his pasture."
Sheep, like humans, are often fearful and easily panicked. Among livestock animals, sheep require the most care and protection. They are vulnerable to fear, and to frustration. Sheep are also vulnerable to mob psychology, and it takes very little to spur them into a stampede. Like us, sheep can be perversely stubborn, insisting upon going their own way, even when it means doing harm to themselves.
It's possible, I suppose, that you are reading this list, thinking, "I don't relate to any of those characteristics...", and if that's true, I say "Bravo for you!" I relate to pretty much everything on the list, and then some. Sheep are also creatures of habit, and prone to getting into a "rut." They are easily "cast" (flipped over on their back), and unable to right themselves without help from the shepherd.
The good news, for us, and for the sheep, is that sheep always recognize the voice of their shepherd, and the shepherd is always the most calming influence on a sheep. God calls us "his sheep"...and he says it often. Jesus described himself as the shepherd.
This Advent...listen for the shepherd's voice. You'll recognize him when he speaks to you.