March 4, 2022
“The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not know the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away – and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because the hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, and as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay my life down for the sheep.” - John 10:12-15

As we begin our Lenten worship series Called to More: A Lenten Series on Wrestling with Sin, we should name something up front.

This series will probably be somewhat uncomfortable.

Wrestling with our shortcomings and looking at our mistakes is never easy.
But the truth is – we all have them.
And when we don’t talk about them, we can sometimes mistakenly think (or lead others to think) that “We are the only ones.”

We all have areas in our lives or moments in our day where we are not the people we want to be. 
And I am sure many of us have had the humiliating experience of showing that side of ourselves to someone else, and being greeted with judgment, shame, or downright rejection. 

Those moments kind of remind me of the ‘hired hand’ in this parable that Jesus is telling.
The hired hand is there for the sheep – that is, until the wolf comes out…
They are there until the going gets tough…
And then, they are out of there. 
Off to save themselves.
Off to find something “better” or “safer.”
Off for greener pastures.

Human relationships can be fickle. But this parable reminds us that the love of God is steadfast.
Whether the going is easy or it is rough…
Whether you feel good about who and where you are in life or not at all…

God is a Good Shepherd.
And a good Shepherd stays put for it all.
…Loves through it all.
…Offers safety and rest,
Forgiveness and abiding presence through it all – whether we think we deserve it or not.

If there is any reason why we can afford to turn inward over these next 40 days and examine our lives, it is because we serve a God who is whole-heartedly committed to us, even in our worst moments. 

May the God of this Lenten season  strengthen you for the journey ahead,
And may you know that the Love of God goes with you.

Pastor Kate