Jesus, the Good Shepherd

By Dave Brown, Presiding Bishopric

I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.  John 10:14–15

The Community of Christ congregation where I grew up met in a large room in city hall. We didn’t have our own building until I was about 13 years old. We acquired a house to use as our “church.”

Even without a traditional church building to meet in I felt like I was part of a community. They asked me to pass out bulletins as people arrived and to help receive the offering. Sometimes I would read a scripture or a story as part of the service. The members of the congregation accepted me as a developing disciple.

As I’ve thought about my experiences as a child and youth in the church it has become clear to me that what was important was being a part of the community and not so much where we met.

In this passage from John, Jesus tells us that he is the good shepherd, and that he will lay down his life for us.

He also invites us into community by providing the context for his role as the good shepherd.

We cannot truly know Jesus until we know each other. And that is how we create community—by making the effort to know each other in ways that are deeper than just names and greeting one another on Sunday.

When we receive someone else’s gifts with joy, as my congregation did with me, we know them better than we did before. The cycle of receiving and sharing with one another helps us all grow in discipleship and create community in Christ.

Prayer for Peace:

Gentle Shepherd, you know us. As we come to know and love our community, we know and love you. As we learn the way of the disciple, we will know the way of peace.

Spiritual Practice for the Week: Embodying God’s Shalom

Each day this week find a way to express and embody God’s shalom. Begin by prayerfully listening to your longing for peace. Become silent and imagine you can hear the groaning of the Earth’s peoples, nations, and creatures.

Prayerfully open yourself to God’s yearning for peace and the divine vision of shalom. What images, feelings, and words come to you? What prayer for peace comes to you from your time of listening? Speak or write this prayer. What small act of justice, kindness, healing, or peacemaking is God inviting you to consider this day, this week?

Peace Covenant:

Today, God, I will intentionally get to know the young people around me. I will express my thankfulness for them.

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