Sunday, April 26, 2015

What We Need by Kayla McClurg

Each day I get an email from "inward, outward."  This was today's.

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- April 26, 2015 -

What We Need

For Sunday, April 26, 2015 – John 10:11-18
Usually my attention goes immediately to the relationship between the sheep and the shepherd. How good and kind the shepherd is, willing to give his life for the sheep. How comforting to see myself as one of many, just an ordinary sheep, yet extraordinarily loved and known. I want to grow in my capacity to hear and follow that singular voice.
That is usually how I ponder this passage. This week, however, I have found my thoughts going again and again not to the shepherd but to the hired hand and the wolf. Who is this hired hand, this substitute shepherd I’ve given charge of my life? Is it a self-identity that helps me feel reasonably stable and competent despite the wolves lying in wait nearby? Is it a group identity upon which I have come to rely? I suppose it’s not uncommon to give some of our authority away, to let another monitor how well we are doing, how successfully we stay within the boundaries that are expected of good sheep.
And everything goes pretty well as long as there are no disruptions. As long as there are no wolves. But what is life except a series of interruptions? Crisis rings the doorbell, anxiety moves in, the wolf of fear attacks, and we are jolted from our comfort. After a short standoff, more bluster than bravery, our protecting identity, knees shaking, hightails it when the wolf comes bounding out of the fog. Our illusions of competence scurry off, leaving us in scattered disarray. This, too, can be gift. In the deafening silence following any catastrophe we learn who is who in our life. Standing with us will be those who are not afraid of what matters most, who are not afraid even to die.
Crisis shows us the truth. How much it costs to depend only upon ourselves. How ready we are to admit what we need. We need each other. We need the “other sheep that do not belong to this fold.” We need the real shepherd. We need to lay down all our substitute lives for the life that matters most.
By: Kayla McClurg
Season and Scripture: Easter BJohn