The Shepherd, His Sheep

Seems this did not post correctly the first time, so here it is again!

I recently purchased a note card from the Printery House as Conception Abbey in Missouri. The image is the Good Shepherd carrying a sheep. the back reads:

The image of Christ as Good Shepherd is deeply rooted in the Gospels: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? (Luke 15:4, cf. Matthew 18:13). The symbolism is of this icon hinges on Christ’s saving Passion. This image of a shepherd carrying a sheep on his shoulders, borrowed from secular art of the Greco-Roman world, is now combined with the imagery of the Paschal Mystery: the resurrected Christ, who bears the marks of the nails, brings back sinners who were lost and now are found. The cross is seen in the background as a sign of Christ’s victory over death. Jesus is not only the shepherd, but as the Passion symbolism indicates, he is also the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).

Conception Item CA8056
Here is the link if you want to purchase the card

About the same time as the card arrived I was looking through a devotional called Forward Day by Day. For many years I used this as my morning devotional guide. The Scripture readings for each day are listed and a short meditation written by various different authors each month. This page read as follows.

John 10:14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me.

At historic St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Chestertown, Maryland, where I served years back, someone installed an oversized window with an image of Jesus carrying a sheep around his neck. I never liked that window. It did not fit the space stylistically, historically, or size-wise, but also, I had never been a fan of the passive image of Jesus as Good Shepherd.

That was the case until I visited the sheep ranch of close friends. They invited me to watch the annual sheep branding, which you will be relieved to know is by spray paint. The sheep also receive oral inoculations for various diseases. The shepherds funnel the sheep from a holding pen through chutes, but because sheep are antsy, the shepherds sometimes must wrestle a few. The sheep will fight and buck and wriggle and strain.

The passive sheep around Jesus’s shoulders has surrendered, given himself over to a shepherd that he trusts will lead and guide and even carry when necessary.

MOVING FORWARD: Have you surrendered or do you still fight and buck and wiggle?

Rob Geizelman Forward day by Day Wednesday March 29, 2023

If you would like to hear the devotion read, here is a link

I really like the MOVING FORWARD question: Have you surrendered or do you still fight and buck and wiggle? What sort of sheep are you? Have you surrendered to Jesus? Do you ever allow Him to carry you?

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