Pondering for Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Daily Office Readings for Wednesday of the 5th Week in Lent: Year 1

 Morning, Psalm 119:145 to 176; Evening, Psalms 128, 129 and 130;
Jeremiah 25:30 to 38Romans 10:14 to 21John 10:1 to 18

“I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.”  (John 10:16)

Our Lord Jesus uses the “I Am” identifier about himself twice in our passage for today.  He says he is the Gate, and that he is the Good Shepherd.  This is the Identifier God used at the burning bush with Moses. God told Moses to go and tell the Israelites that “I Am” sent him (Exodus 3:14). And just as Moses gathered all the tribes of Israel to be one following of God, so too, our Lord Jesus is going to call other faith traditions and denominations to be one flock. 

I think what is key here is for each of us to belong to some flock. We all need to be a part of a faith community. When Jesus began his ministry on the shores of Capernaum he didn’t say, “go and do your own thing.” No, he said, “Follow Me.” 

Over the years in the development or, “devolvement,” of the Christian Church we now have many denominations.   No denomination gets everything right.  I personally believe the Episcopal Church is the best way for me to worship God through our Lord Jesus. Perhaps the Episcopal Church is not the best way to worship for others. But that does not make other faith traditions or denominations worse or less holy; just another flock that will be joined with Jesus to make up the one flock.

The point is, we all need to belong to some flock somewhere. Jesus meets us where we are and in the faith community we are in.  It seems that God sends us, buses not cabs. God in Christ Jesus collects groups of people, not individuals. We need to belong to the household of God and await God’s call. This gathering of others reminds me of our Lord Jesus after the resurrection when he called out to his followers who were fishing. “When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread.  Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught,” (John 21:9 and 10).  This is another message of gathering not only of different people, but also those who only recently came to believe.

The main point is that we all need to find a spiritual community to be with. And I would suggest attending many and different kinds of services. Your spiritual comfort will be revealed to you through the Holy Spirit. It may or may not be the pastor or the preaching.  It may be the feel of the parishioners. It may be any number of environmental or spiritual affects acting upon your soul. But remember, when you find it, stick with it. Our Lord Jesus will join all faithful groups together into one holy family. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

Please keep up your thoughts and prayers and hopes for Ukraine and Russia.

As we listen to what the Spirit of God is saying to us, let us live to love and serve, and to teach others to love and serve, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John

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