GOING ROUND IN CIRCLES

(Good Shepherd Sunday this week)

Every once in a while, when I get into a discussion of sheep,  someone in the group tells me the story of the farm boys who tease their father’s sheep by getting them to follow each other — around in  a circle!

(Here’s a sketch; sorry it’s so light. I used mainly a grey pencil.)

good sh in acircle

Around and around and around;  “because sheep are so dumb they’ll just keep following the one in front of him”   —  around and around  .  .  .   Great joke!     Then the farm boys would get into trouble because — well, it’s just plain mean to take advantage of dumb animals.

So is that story ever true?     Really?     That dumb?

But maybe.

I’ve read about sheep.  Here are two great classic books describing the behavior of actual sheep with the not-so-subtle suggestion of the many ways we are like the sheep too.

good shep books

The books are entertaining.   The author is a real shepherd and has intimate and detailed knowledge about the care of sheep.    What a job!  They can’t take care of themselves like, say, a herd of beef cattle.    Or trout in a trout pond.    Chickens in a coop . .  .

Sheep stray.   They have no idea how to find their way back.   They eat things they shouldn’t.   They get pretty sick and easily  die.  They get thirsty, but have to be led to the nearby watering hole.    They don’t wander home when it gets dark.

good shep on a hill

The shepherd pretty much has to do all the thinking for his sheep and lead them along, staying alert and attentive.

But he has to lead them gently.   They spook easily.   A harsh voice will spook them.   They get confused easily.    A stranger’s voice will spook them.

One spring day when I was a teacher,  a student’s mother brought in a baby lamb.   She warned me ahead of time that lambs are extremely sensitive to sudden noises, bangs or shouts.  Any sudden change in volume would be enough to shock the little lamb to death!

god little lamb

She said it sometimes happens in their barns.

Try keeping 32 seven-year-olds   still and quiet when a  tiny little lamb appears in the classroom!     That day is impressed deeply in my memory, I was so worried.   (Nobody died that day!)

We are taught that we are like sheep.  We people.   We who think we know so much.  We who think we know what we need.  We who think we know where our lives are taking us.   We who think we can find our way,  but, really, we’re merely following.

Here’s what the Good Shepherd would like us to know about ourselves:  “All we like sheep have gone astray.  We have turned  everyone to his own way.”    He told the great prophet Isaiah to teach us that.    We have a fatal flaw;  we’ve strayed away from the One who made us and  turned to our own ways.

In all my decades of life,  I’ve never found that not to be true.

The Good Shepherd knows everything.     We’d all be lost in the end,  if we didn’t have a Good Shepherd inviting us to follow Him.

good shep holding little one

The pathway is Narrow.   Cliffs and quicksand,  cunning wolves,  sheep rustlers   (thieves),   bad weather and misfortune,  hunger, thirst, and sickness, enticing shadows, fake shepherds  — all  distract us and lie in wait for us.

Think how dangerous it would be for these sheep to leave their Shepherd!!

“I am the Good Shepherd; my sheep know my voice and I know them.”    Nobody can get to Heaven without Him.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
Explore posts in the same categories: Liturgical Year

Tags:

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: