A reflection on John 10:22-30
by the Rev’d Ann Edwards
Sheep have had a bad rap. They’re intelligent, complex, and sociable. They feel happiness, anger, despair, and boredom.
There’s this misconception that sheep stick together only because they’re too silly to do differently. But sheep have learned over the years the benefit of living and moving together. The sheep’s default position is that sheep are in – lambs grow up and learn the graceful, synchronised movement of their flock and they see and learn how the strong protect the weak.
Individual sheep are smart enough to find their way out of mazes – and they do so faster if their friends are waiting for them at the end. The stronger sheep will intervene for the weaker in fights – horns and hoofs to the ready. They remember the faces of each sheep in their flock and the faces of their people. The flock is the priority.
It is only because of this togetherness, that the shepherd can lead them in the right direction and trust them to stay together when dealing with the big ugly threats.
The shepherd doesn’t need to convince sheep to stick together – when the shepherd speaks, the flock moves, and along the way, they take care of one another as well. When Jesus speaks, how does our flock respond?