Today's reading from the Gospel of John gifts us with "Good Shepherd" sayings of Jesus:I am the gate...I am the good shepherd...whoever enters by me will be saved....there will be one flock, one shepherd....I lay down my life so that I may take it up again.....
Jesus is using a "figure of speech" approach today and we are told that his listeners just do not understand. And he keeps trying. Most of what Jesus says is not to be taken literally. As the author tells us today, he uses figures of speech, metaphors, parables, stories, to highlight underlying principles he is driving home to his audience. Dogmatic approaches do a dis-service to these words that have been held in reverence for thousands of years. Whoever enters, all who follow, Jesus says are welcome and are a part of his flock, not a select few who meet particular criteria established by individuals with egos larger than the Pharisees with whom Jesus is trying to converse.
In all our fragility, in all our weakness, in all our strength, our happiness, our sadness, in all our humanness, Jesus is inviting all of us to be part of this new thing. Exclusiveness is not a part of this invitation. That makes me smile this morning.
Copyright 2010, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.