Revised; originally published on 2 January 2015
Image: Jesus as the Good Shepherd, https://wordstogod.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/the_lord_my_shepherd_sheep_christ_art_jesus_hd-wallpaper-1233667.jpg?w=1400 ..
In church yesterday there was a talk about the birth of Christ, and how at first, it was only the lowly shepherds who were visited by an Angel of the Lord, who told them about Jesus. (1) The person giving the talk explained that, in Galilee at that time, shepherds were considered social outcasts, homeless people who couldn’t get good work in town. Folks who seldom bathed, and received what we might call today ‘minimum wage’ … that maybe being food, and maybe a simple lean-to shelter.
For that rough fare, they must put their lives at risk, driving off wolves that might attack the sheep, keeping the sheep safe, seeing to the labor of those giving birth, protecting the young lambs, finding those that had strayed from the flock and bringing them back safe to the fold.
So, hmm… I got to thinking about how Christ called himself ‘the good shepherd’:
John 10:11: “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” –KJV – public domain
And about how Christ was conceived out of wedlock, among a people for whom this was greatly frowned upon. How he was born in the simplest of circumstances, in a shelter for livestock. How he was born into a country overcome, occupied and ruled by the army of a foreign nation.
And in my mind, it all added up to this: Walking with Christ isn’t necessarily to walk the path of most people on Earth. Perhaps not the path of those in power. Or the path of social censure. Or the path of wealth and social status.
To walk with Christ is to walk alone with Him.
And to walk with all humankind, but often not of one mind with them.
To walk in love and light, in Christ consciousness, come what may.
To know that this will suffice, that all is well.
And surely, as we journey through this life we shall find friends in Christ, and friends of Christ in other faiths, to cheer our hearts onward.
Christ be within me and without me,
before me and behind me
all the days of my life.
Christ be with each of you.
In love, light and joy,
I Am of the Stars
(1) Luke 2: The Shepherds and Angels
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.”
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Christianity, Good Shepherd, homelessness, social censure, walking with Christ, homeless, social outcasts, societal expectations, John 10:11, Luke 2:8-20,