In the current readings in the Gospel Jesus is teaching a lot about sheep and shepherds. In the Gospel reading this on Sunday it described the care a shepherd gives to their sheep and said that if it was a hired shepherd when danger, or the wolf, arrives they literally “run for the hills”!
In the Bible it talks about the Good Shepherd calling each of the sheep by name, looking out for them and keeping them safe. It is not simply someone “doing their job” but a deep rooted care for the safety, care and well-being of the flock around them.
In education we are called to go beyond being the “hired hand” to know, love and cherish every person we are responsible for. At the heart of this is the belief that it is important that every person in our community feels and knows that they are “known and loved” as an individual.
Jesus is also known as the “Good Shepherd” and seeks us out to bring us back to God in some way. In other teaching He talks about the rejoicing of when we are “lost and found” and how God seeks us out when we head in the wrong direction.
So although our lives may seem very different to the shepherds on the hills at the time of Jesus maybe there is plenty we can learn from them.
- Help us listen out for God’s call for us – whatever this may be. We hope that we will be blessed by being happy and fulfilled in whatever we do.
- Challenge us to remember the deeper meaning of all we do – we aren’t just here to fill the day or pay the bills but our work in education and serving young people has a profound and deep meaning.
- May we seek out those who are lost or need to be kept safe by us in all we do – we remember especially relationships we find challenging or young people who need the security, love and protection of being part of the St Paul’s family.
We hope, that with God’s help, we can be great shepherds in all we do.
Once again I have been compelled to offer a two for the price of one reflection as I failed to complete the one I had planned for last week…
The theme for the week was respect and I believe it has 3 stages and ways of living it out in our school community.
- Respect for yourself – it is a fundamental thing for us to be able to love and respect ourselves and place some self-worth in what we have to offer. Perhaps at times people can go to either extreme where people believe their own “hype” – a dangerous thing – or alternatively don’t have enough self-respect or worth. Perhaps in the modern world it is easy, especially for young people growing up, to feel the pressures to conform, act or look a certain way. In essence I believe the challenge is to be comfortable in our own skin and to be proud in who we are.
- Respect for others – if we can live our lives by showing respect to others I believe we will find that we will be intrinsically happier. We can find joy by building others up and not knocking them down, some of the happiest and most inspiring people I have met have lived selflessly by doing right by others each and every day.
- Respect for God – as Christians our respect for God underpins all of this. The example of Jesus lives out a true respect for Himself and all those He met, especially those on the margins of society. If we accept that God is the source of all love we can find ways each day to respect God and be grateful for all that we have in our lives – friends, family, food, housing or an education – perhaps the basic foundations of our lives that we take for granted.
This week we are reflecting on the theme of invitation and there may be a seamless link to the week before… God loves, cherishes and respects all of us and has created us for a “definite service” and purpose. We are called to become the person that God has created us to be and one of life’s joys is discovering and exploring this every step of the way.
We are invited to;
- Live life to the full
- Love one another as God loves us
- Be full of light, life and hope
- Build people up and inspire them
- Bring people closer to God
- Lead with passion, integrity and faith
If we can do these things I am confident we will be happier, more fulfilled and have deeper relationships with one another and with God.
I feel blessed to lead and live in a community of faith at our school. The work we do has a deeper meaning in that we are not just ticking along, clocking in and out, but in fact doing something that has a far deeper meaning purpose…
As a Christian community we are challenged to simply build up the Kingdom of God in small ways each and every day. If we can do this we must be doing something right.
Have a great week and half term when it comes.