Bishop Ward comments on Jesus’ observation in the Gospel of John that there are still sheep that are not in the fold. We should be about welcoming all into the flock of the Good Shepherd.
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ, our good Shepherd.
The good Shepherd is a lovely, gentle, yet powerful image. Jesus gives it to us, calling himself the good Shepherd. These shepherds, these sheep, have been gifts from friends. They are constant reminders to me that I am both a sheep in God’s fold and a shepherd, appointed to care for the flock.
Today at the Festival of Preaching, pastors are gathered to become stronger preachers, more equipped to preach the Good News in every place. Preaching is one of the shepherding tasks of clergy and we have gathered to learn, to be inspired, and to go forth stronger proclaimers of the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ, who is our good Shepherd.
The text that I will use at midday today is this text appointed for this next Sunday. I love Jesus’ observation – “I have other sheep not yet in the fold.”
We are called to protect and guard and build up the sheep fold, to care for the sheep who have been embraced – to have come toward God. Our calling also is to remember always that there are other sheep not yet gathered in.
Francis Asbury, the first Methodist bishop here in America, reminded us to take the resources form the center to the circumference, from the sheep fold out into the world. He knew, and we know, that God has other sheep not yet welcomed.
May we be faithful sheep in the sheep fold of God. May we shepherd faithfully the flock, and may we go and welcome the sheep that have not yet been embraced.