Other sheep

             I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.
             I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice.
             So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

                           —John 10.16

I am doing my best to follow Jesus. I listen prayerfully for his voice. I continually question my fears and desires, because I know how hard it is to discern God’s voice from my own ego. I test my understanding of God’s call by searching scripture, reflecting on my experience, learning from the traditions of the church, and listening with others. I know I can be mistaken, but I stake my life on my devotion to Jesus as I believe he leads me.

I imagine others are doing the same. Yet some of them seem to be following in the opposite direction. What I do they abhor; what they do I can’t join in. What I care about doesn’t move them. What they’re obsessed with seems both petty and destructive to me. I’d rather argue about something that mattered, something life-giving. They seem to be moved by fears and wounds more strongly than trust and love. But I can’t judge. All I can do is love them, and follow the voice I hear.

My Methodist Church isn’t very United these days. Some Methodist sheep believe others “do not belong to this fold.” I don’t understand. I have no solution. But I know we are one flock not in our opinions, but in the shepherd’s love. So I keep my eye on the Shepherd of Love, and listen for his voice.

I will continue to follow as I am led, and not divert. I will not follow other sheep; I will follow Jesus. I’ll let Jesus lead his sheep, including those I don’t agree with. I’ll get to know them, listen to them, help them, love them and pray for them, but I won’t follow them, or ask them to follow me. I’ll follow Jesus.

I ask my Shepherd to keep speaking. I lay my heart open to listen. And I will follow. Whatever the difficulty, whatever the consequences, I will follow.

Breath prayer: Love … lead


                           —May 3, 2017


The shepherd’s voice

             The shepherd goes ahead of them,
             and the sheep follow
             because they know the shepherd’s voice.
                           —John 10.4

Gentle shepherd,
you who lead me to abundant life,
to live so others also may follow
and find green pastures:
help me know your voice,
recognize your calling,
hear my name.
Give me grace to listen
for your voice,
deep within,
so quiet, yet so clear,
the voice of One who leads,
leads to still waters,
leads through deathly valleys,
leads through all suffering, all joy,
leads to abundant life,
you whose very life is a leading,
whose love is a voice,
speaking to me,
speaking in me.
I quiet my soul.
I listen.

I listen for you.

I listen … for you.

                           —May 2, 2017


The Lord is my shpherd

            You are my shepherd.

Not my fears. Not my desires.
Not the machinations of my ego.
Not my group and its partisans,
my nation, my party, my church.

You alone lead me in your path:
not the path of being right,
but the path of loving.

Help me to discern your leading.
Grant me the humble attentiveness
to see you loving, and to join you loving,
to love and to forsake all other ways.
Grant me the courage to follow,
even through the darkest valley.

I follow you, like a lamb;
and following me
come goodness and mercy.

Breath prayer: Shepherd me … in love

                           —May 1, 2017


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