A lamb will make an appearance at Messy Church tonight, and it’s not stuffed, or the puppet variety (although the puppet will turn up). Best get plenty of polythene sheet down so that it doesn’t leave it’s mark permanently.
The sheep and lambs above seem quite content going out for a wander on the tarmac road. Yet they have very little to worry about with a plentiful supply of grass and water and no fear of wolves or any other predator. Yet you never know when a forty foot articulated lorry is just around the corner, didn’t anyone teach them the highway code? Seeing Jesus as the shepherd conjures up for us ideas of a protector, provider, guide which are all good images. However in the story of the lost sheep the shepherd doesn’t just see a flock but individuals and sacrifices much for the sake of one sheep.
I’m not sure if the image of a shepherd would be used today by Jesus. The mass farming, four wheel drive vehicles and a dog to round up the flock looses something of the imagery required. The setting when Jesus told the story was of a hired hand looking after a small flock and intimately involved with them, knowing each individual sheep. Whilst farming has changed considerably over the years the image of Jesus as the good shepherd is still a strong one for each one of us. If a forty foot articulated lorry came around our road, nice to know that a shepherd will be looking out for us!