“The Lord is my shepherd.” Probably all of us know this opening from Psalm 23. In it is carried the hopeful promise that the Lord is for me, and not just with me. A shepherd sees himself as existing for his sheep, laying down his own preferences for another and making sure the sheep are okay. Sheep are needy animals. They cannot make it on their own. The Lord promises to tend his church as a shepherd – gathering, carrying, and leading. The remarkable fact is that some of us have been given the privilege of being a part of that promise as well.
He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. (Isaiah 40:11)
Lord Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd, who lays down his life for the sheep; no one takes your life from you, but you lay it down of your own accord, so that those under your care may live. Open the eyes of your church to see the needs of others, that we might welcome new sheep into your fold, care for those who are hurting, and restore those who are lost. We are each a sinner of your own redeeming and a lamb of your own flock: hear our prayer, asked only through you. Amen.