Matthew 18:12 -14
My sister and I were quite young when our mother read Bible stories to us as we tucked into our beds. Sweet memories of simpler days long past!
In one of our favourite books was the story of The Lost Sheep described in Matthew 18 and the painting by Alfred Usher Soord. The shepherd having searched and finally found the one who is missing, is seen leaning precariously over the cliff to rescue the sheep on the mountain side. We also loved the Bible story of The Good Shepherd and picture by Warner Sallman with Jesus as a shepherd among his sheep holding one of them in his arms. While this painting refers to Jesus’ teaching in John’s Gospel (10:11), it also fits with our reading today in Isaiah (40:11), ‘he will gather the lambs in his arms and carry them in his bosom…’.
At age 43 my sister was in palliative care with an aggressive brain tumor. She was sedated, confused and couldn’t speak. I showed her a small picture card of The Good Shepherd. Her eyes lit up in recognition and shakily she pointed to the lamb held in Jesus’ arms. I responded, ‘Yes, there you are’, and she smiled.
Stepping back for a moment from our complicated lives and all our questions around faith and doubt, perhaps we might allow ourselves to rest like that lamb in the being found and being held in God with a light and a joy that requires no further filtering.