Across the world, lots of people are still going through a difficult time. Some people have wondered where God is when things are hard. Everyone needs care and love.
This is a story of the Good Shepherd from the Bible.
There was once someone who said and did wonderful things. Many people followed and listened to him. He was amazing but they wondered – who could he really be?
One day, he tried to explain… He said to them, “I’m like a Good Shepherd who cares for every one of his sheep and knows each one by their name. My sheep have a place to shelter together, a sheepfold. It has a gate to keep them inside. Even when they are asleep, I stay close to them. They know I am there.
Each day, I open the gate of the sheepfold, to let the sheep out. It’s different being outside the fold, their world is suddenly much bigger. I am there to show them the way to go. They can follow me to find the greenest grass to eat. It tastes so good. They can follow me to the clearest water to drink. It feels so refreshing.
When the sheep get to any dangerous place, I go in front. I show them that even in the darkest places, there is a way to come through. If they stay close to me and listen to my voice, they won’t get lost. If any one sheep does get lost, I will search and search till I find them and bring them back to the others in the sheepfold. Even if a wolf came to attack and eat the sheep, I would never run away and leave my sheep behind. In fact, I would do anything to protect them from a wolf and help them find their way to safety.
This is how I am the Good Shepherd, who looks after all of the sheep, all of the time.”
This is an abbreviated and adapted version of “Parable of the Good Shepherd” in The Complete Guide to Godly Play,Vol. 3, by Jerome Berryman, 2017, Church Publishing.
I wonder, which part of the story do you like best?
I wonder what a sheep feels like inside the Good Shepherd's sheepfold? I wonder when or where you feel safe?
The Good Shepherd cared for every one of his sheep. He was with them to find fresh grass and cool water, and stayed with them in dark and difficult times to help them find a way through.
On some paper, you might want to draw a sheepfold and think about what it is like to feel safe and looked after. Maybe you could write your name carefully and think about who loves you and knows you by name. Or you could draw green grass and think about some good times or places you have been. Or you could sit and think for a while, whatever is right for you today.
If you would like to, you can say this prayer...
Dear God, Thank you for the good times that we experience. Help us to know we are not alone and that, in difficult times, there is always a way through to be found. Amen