A Ruler Who Is To Shepherd

January 15, 2014 § Leave a comment

God is a Verb:  “A ruler who is to Shepherd.”  This, I think, is a crucial meaning of Christ’s proclamation:  “The Kingdom of God has come near.”

God is not a Taskmaster, sitting on the sidelines, ready to dole out standards or exact vengeance – even if sometimes scripture might appear to point this way.  We humans, at times trapped more in our childhood issues than steeped in the Gospel, are in constant need of pruning when it comes to such images of God.

Last week the words in the title above leaped out at me.  They come from the second chapter of Matthew in a quote which is a composite from several verses in Micah – a prophecy about the Messiah.

I had a flood of allusions.  A blog I wrote a while back about a true shepherd.  The connection with Jesus’ proclamation of the Kingdom of God or God’s Rule, as it is sometimes translated.  The Loving Kindness of our God – Imaged in Jesus:  Someone who comes among us as both Lamb of God and Shepherd – with all the exquisite images of protecting, feeding, leading, watching out for, rescuing, healing which Micah describes so eloquently.  God as a Verb – creating, speaking, ever seeking, acting.  Always Reaching Out – in Love.  Finally sending his Son to show us what our dense minds refuse to believe or trust.

Why is it so hard for us?

Well, the blessing is that Jesus knows this too:  My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  Our Shepherd knows the experience of a lamb – at a time of ultimate trial.  Just like our own experience – in times of trouble, confusion, anguish, anxiety, hurt, anger – all those negative emotions trapping us inside our own heads, leading us to forget that – even if trapped – our Shepherd is with us – God is with us – “as a Mother cannot forget her child”.

So when we come upon all those authors, including Matthew, who urge us to discipline (abandon) ourselves, and be docile, obedient servants, we mustn’t lose sight of what even Matthew reminds us in his second chapter:  The Rule of God entails a Mystery.  A Ruler who is To Shepherd and a Shepherd who is simultaneously God’s Lamb.  The Spirit testifies to this.

Holy Mystery.  Mind-blowing!

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