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.

                        —John 10.16

We think we’re being open-minded
when we include “all of us,” Protestant and Catholic,
Orthodox and Coptic, as if we see the whole landscape.
But the pasture and the Shepherd, are far greater than that.
Believer, unbeliever and other-believer alike
are all shepherded, each in their own language.
And still there are more, and more other, sheep.
Like, well, sheep.
Do not the deer and otter, whale and fungus
follow the Shepherd faithfully?
Is not the bird migrating its continents shepherded as well?
Christ is not the partisan figurehead of a religion,
Christ is the infinite embodied grace of God,
the Shepherd of all Creation,
who leads rivers to the sea and winter into spring
and each of us into life.
So there are still other, and more “other,” sheep.
For Copernicus isn’t done with us yet:
we admit the sun doesn’t revolve around the earth,
but we still think God does.
No, little one: we are in a small corner.
Yet even the far galaxies,
the trillion trillions of stars and their planets,
and yes, their doubtless forms of life,
are also under the calm eye of the Shepherd,
and follow the Shepherd’s voice.
All of us, Baptist and Sufi, fish, bug and bird,
earthling and alien, village and nebula, all are one flock. One.
And, behold, even on the remotest planet
in the farthest flung galaxy—like ours—
or the most desolate spot in a life like yours,
under the loving gaze of the Shepherd who seeks out the one,
there is no one who is not at the center.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
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