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