I know a little about sheep, having lived in a rural area for a short while. I know a little about sheep, but unfortunately, I have used all of my (few) good sheep stories in the years since then. So you have all heard about the time I walked out of the door of the church one Friday morning and saw a small group of sheep standing in the church parking lot, with kind of blank looks on their faces. And of course, I may have mentioned that though most of the members of my parish were farmers, only two of them kept sheep. The others were dead set against them. My small neice came to visit one year and asked one the farmers why they didn't have sheep on their farm. "I can't tell you," the farmer told her sweetly. "Why not?" she said. "It isn't nice."
I've also heard any number of sermons about the dubious character of sheep. They are not the brightest animals in the barn. They are stubborn. They are disobedient. They have a habit of getting lost. And then of course, we are all supposed to make the connection: we too are wandering, disobedient and stubborn.
But sometimes I think sheep get a bum rap. It's not that I want to white-wash sheep, it's just that I wonder if we miss the point of the gospel if we focus solely on the deficiencies of sheep. Or us.
Have you noticed, that almost everybody has opinions about what you and I need, what you and I need to be fulfilled people, to live a good life?
....to be continued