One Flock, One Shepherd (Ros' Blog)
Out walking in Snowdonia last month, we came across this sheep. At first glance, it looks like any of the hundreds of other sheep we came across on that trip. But take a closer look at these two photographs.
If you look closely at the front left leg in this picture, you can see that it’s bent backwards – probably a broken bone – and that the sheep is not putting any weight on it.
And in this second picture, a careful look will reveal that the splendid horn above its right eye is on its own; the left horn is missing, most likely broken off in the same accident – probably a mountain fall – that broke its leg.
We had found a disabled sheep. It hobbled badly, possibly in pain, around the field, over the bushes and up and down the hill slope. It certainly looked as though it had met with an accident, which had caused its disabilities.
It didn’t appear, though, to be feeling sorry for itself. I suspect it might have objected if it had suspected us of thinking that it was “suffering” from its impairments. It was moving placidly around the hillside, albeit with some difficulty, munching away to its heart’s content. It was surrounded by other members of the flock, and none of them was treating it any differently from any of the other sheep.
None of them told it that the hillside was too steep or tried to prevent it gaining access. None of them told it that the grass was only for physically able sheep or tried to shoo it away. None of them treated this mature adult as if it were a baby lamb. When it occasionally bleated, it wasn’t ignored, but received an answering bleat.
And just for a moment, it seemed like an idyllic picture of the church – one flock, all in one place, all making an equal contribution and enjoying equal access, the disabled sheep just as fully belonging to the flock as any other. This is Through the Roof’s vision for the Church, where all take their place as equals, all have equal access to the banqueting table of the Lord Jesus, and all have contributions to make which are equally valued.
Let us pray and work for this vision to become a reality, recalling the words that Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own, and My own know Me…. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice; and they will become one flock, with one shepherd.”