Acknowledgement of Country
We acknowledge that we are on the land of the Kaurna people, the traditional custodians of the Adelaide Plains. We are awed that they celebrate the religious significance of place, plant and all living creatures; and that care for the earth is implanted in their law. We honour them and also delight in the sacred in our midst. We pray that in the power of the Holy Spirit we might work together for reconciliation and justice in this land.
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24 NRSV
“I, the Sovereign Lord, tell you that I myself will look for my sheep and take care of them in the same way as shepherds take care of their sheep that were scattered and are brought together again. I will bring them back from all the places where they were scattered on that dark, disastrous day. I will take them out of foreign countries, gather them together, and bring them back to their own land. I will lead them back to the mountains and the streams of Israel and will feed them in pleasant pastures. I will let them graze in safety in the mountain meadows and the valleys and in all the green pastures of the land of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will find them a place to rest. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken. “I will look for those that are lost, bring back those that wander off, bandage those that are hurt, and heal those that are sick.
Matthew 25:31–46 NRSV
‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Then he will say to those at his left hand, “You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.” Then they also will answer, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?” Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’
If this week’s apocalyptic texts were only or primarily about a final judgment, coming at the end of the world or the end our lives, they might easily be dismissed.
Instead, these scriptures challenge us with the opportunity to see and respond to the world today through the lens of God’s transcendent love and justice.
How do you see the love of Christ’s presence among those most often ignored?
How might you respond with dignity, respect and mutuality to those you now see?
Back to our overarcing image of the Good Shepherd
The Good Shepherd seeks us, greets us, gathers us, guides us,
refreshes us, knows us, understands us,
holds us, heals us,
and enables us to find home where we belong.
ALL are seen by God. Not just those seen in our society
Everyone and all creation is seen by God!!!
Beloved of God, go into the world
and allow the joyful noises of creation to fill your hearts,
so that you may be renewed for the journey of compassion and healing
to which we are called as followers of Christ.
Go in peace. Amen.