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Like Sheep without a Shepherd

I'm sure there must have been a time in pre-human history or whatever when sheep did just fine without shepherds. I mean, they must have been wild at some point, wandering around feeding themselves, living in little flocks or 'family' groups or whatever. I have no idea, I'm just pretty sure they didn't evolve as a domestic food source. But enter a human sense and practice of business acumen, agricultural progress and all of that. Now I am unable to imagine sheep without shepherds, or dogs, or fences, or expansive green pastures. I am well versed in a shepherd's responsibility to see that their sheep get out to pasture, stay with the flock for safety's sake, and I know we do this because we get wool and dinner from them. Whatever was is no more. We're talking business, Baby!

It is not me who made sheep political. I'm going to blame the Bible for that! Take Ezekiel 34:1-6 for example. (Our first reading for Sunday.) 

"Woe, you shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat; you clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatted calves, but you do not feed the sheep. You have not strengthened the weak; you have not healed the sick . . ."

This is unapologetic political commentary. 

So, this Sunday we see Jesus looking at the community of his day, surveying the crowds if you will. And Jesus tells his disciples that the people are like "Sheep without a shepherd." (Sunday's Gospel Lesson is Matthew 9:35-10:8)

I don't understand when people get mad at me for being "political." Get mad at Jesus. Or, better yet, maybe we should get a little more focused and verbal about the shepherds. As I look around I think Jesus' assessment still holds.

Join us Sunday at your own risk. I plan to preach the Gospel.

Pr. Dave Brauer-Rieke

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