Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Crook at the Head of the Staff

Ridest thou life out? Art thou filled with ennui? Dost thou wish to drop out of the race? Hopest thou all will be well if thou withdraweth in quietness and rest? Nay. Many are tired but few are utterly exhausted. What hast thou in thy hand? Is it not a weak and malformed shepherd’s staff? Thou knowest thou art being conformed to the image of thy great shepherd. Thou hast read it in the 13th chapter of Hebrews and the eighth chapter of Romans. Turnest thou that staff bottom-side-uppards. There. It is a “J”. It standeth not for Jay-Z. Nor standeth it for J-Lo. Yea, thou knowest the initial of thy great shepherd. Therefore, useth thou that staff as the shepherd doth: he rescueth, he urgest along and he protecteth the sheep withal.

Verily, when thy great shepherd seest a lamb feebly trying to arise from having fallen over the rim of a cliff, the shepherd reachest down with the crooked end of his staff to lift the lamb back into the fold. In like manner, thou, when thou seest a fellow human going over the cliff of strong drink, ground-up potions, or substances never intended for such abuse, or falling out of a relationship because of poor communication, reachest thou out with thy staff of friendship, compassion, understanding, gentleness and sobriety to bring the wanderer back into the fold where there will be joy unspeakable amongst the sheep.

Likewise, observe how thy great shepherd urgest lambs and sheep along with the other end of the staff. He encourageth the recalcitrant and dilatory to rejoin the journey. So thou, as thou are being conformed to the image of thy great shepherd, urge thou those who giveth up not to do so, but to press on toward the high calling wherewith they are called. Yea, the shepherd resteth while the sheep rest, but moveth forward at his will. Encourage those who wish to drop out to continue. Rest only when thy shepherd resteth.

Hast thou not noted how thy great shepherd fiercely figheth the lion and the bear with the shepherd’s staff? Behold, he jabbeth, beateth, clobbereth, poketh and runneth the predator off. Thou, then, must do warfare on behalf of thy fellow troubled humans. In Adam’s fall we sinned all, including thou; and yet thou art called to heal thyself as well as thy fellowman. When addiction cometh with insatiable hunger, thou must whomp it up beside its multiple heads with thy staff. When quarreling cometh, thou must speak a kind word and lead by thine own benign example. When hate cometh, thou must love, thereby chasing the untoward away. SELAH.

So that, when thou hast rescued the perishing, encouraged the downtrodden and fought for those who err from the straight path, then thou wilt begin to resemble that great shepherd of the sheep, in whose heavenly flock thou wilt spend eternity—in the company of those thou undershepherded. Remember, thou thyself hast been shepherded and desire to remain in the flock.

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