THE SHEPHERD OF THE SHEEP…..Read John 10:1-16

Two days ago, my wife Sue and I arrived in England for a two-month get-away. Long flights from Seattle, a grueling time getting our car rental worked out as originally contracted for (see my blog on Timeshare Salesmen and you’ll get my drift!), driving for 2 hours on the other side of the front seat and piloting on the other side of the road. All with almost no sleep and directions to our home rental that even Lewis and Clark would agonize over. But, praise the Lord (and I mean it), we pulled into the stone driveway of the Old Manor House in Hadzor, Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire, England. This will be our home for the next 2 months. A home built in the 15th century. That’s right, you read correctly– I didn’t make a mistake on my keyboard. At the time it was a large manorial home in the midst of the Feckenham Forest, known for game hunting. Originally, the house had no chimney–only a large hole in the roof. A beautiful chimney was added during the reign of Queen Elizabeth the 1st in the 16th century. When Henry VIII divorced his wife, the Spanish Princess Catherine of Aragon, he gave her the Hadzor estate that included this Old Manor House as part of the divorce settlement. As we would say, ‘if the walls could speak’! Looking out our front windows you see a lovely large lawn with a moat at the border to keep the many sheep that are grazing in the fields beyond our lawn. The moat predates the home and even may be from Roman times, where it was used as a security system. Farther away, you can see a stone foot bridge built in the very early 1800’s to walk over the Worcester-Birmingham Canal which is still in use today, over 200 years after its completion. We see ‘narrow boats’, as they are called, passing by with people standing up guiding their boats through this narrow canal. Back to those sheep, though! They are most interesting. Downwind today has been less than appetizing, and we ate our fish-and-chips after the wind changed directions! Apart from their very strong odors for a variety of reasons that I need not spell out (!), they just roam around all day long. In the early morning they can be found, all of them, under a large tree in the shade– all lying down. Until one gets up–and slowly but surely, and then you’ll see all of them, one-by-one, doing the same and roaming around somewhere else in the fields. Eating…eating…eating. No fighting, no arguing, no butting heads– seeming most contented and well-cared for fenced in a large series of fields. In this Bible passage in the Gospel of John, Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd while referring to us as His sheep that He cares for so much, even to point of giving His own life for us. As I have been watching the sheep, I’ve thought about how caring our Shepherd really is for us and to us. There’s never a time when He’s not intimately caring for you and me. Never a time. He loves to be with His sheep. Unlike the hired worker, Jesus owns us. He paid for us with His life so we would never have to face death alone again. Never. I’m sure glad that I’m in Jesus’ flock. Aren’t you glad? It’s a big flock but He has time and attention for each and everyone of us. He IS the Good Shepherd..for sure! More on this next time! Tally-ho!

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