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Baa, baa, black sheep, have you any wool?

by davesandel on November 4th, 2021

Thursday, November 4, 2021                        (today’s lectionary)

Memorial of Saint Charles Borromeo, Bishop

Baa, baa, black sheep, have you any wool?

Jesus turned the tables on the Pharisees’ complaint about eating with sinners. “What man among you having a hundred sheep, and losing one of them, would not leave the ninety-nine and go after the lost one until he finds it? That man’s joy will abound. He will set that lamb on his shoulders and rejoice with all his friends and neighbors. In just that way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over the ninety-nine who have no need.”

In our Urbana home office a picture of angels rejoicing in heaven overlooks the room. My family got that framed painting for me on Father’s Day a dozen years ago. For me it never loses its joy. Those guys are happy!

So that’s heaven for me, right there, as those angels blow their trumpets and welcome me home. Cause I’m one of those sinner-lambs lost in the woods long after dark, caught by a thornbush, tears in my wool, rips in my skin but I just can’t get loose. I hear the savior calling, but he can’t hear my weakening bleat, and I really have no more hope.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? Just let me gaze on the loveliness of the Lord and live in his house all the days of my life. Wait for the Lord. Take heart, and wait for the Lord.

I do have these memories of the good arms holding me, I remember the warm barn and how cozy the straw felt under my belly when I laid down. And how sometimes even the shepherd would lie down with us and sing sleeping melodies while we sniffled and huddled closer to each other and waited for sleep to come. We were all one big family, and he took care of all of us.

Brothers and sisters, none of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself. For if we live, we live for the Lord. And if we die, we die for the Lord. So then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.

But now I have trouble thinking of anything except how cold I am. The wind blows gusts of rain into my face through the thorns. I try to close my mouth but my tongue hangs out, and I’m not breathing very well.

There, I hear something. It’s a wolf, or it’s Jesus. I smell him now, and he’s not the wolf. He sees me, maybe he sees my pink tongue, and he clucks, “O little one, what are you doing way out here?” My eyes look up at his face, I see his smile. “You’re not alone anymore, my son.” I know how much he loves me.

How do I know that, I’m just a simple sheep? Doesn’t matter, I know it all the same. Jesus takes the time to pull thorns out of my skin, one by one. He shelters my face from the wind. I think he must be very cold himself. Finally he gathers me up in his arms and we start back to the flock. I hope they are all asleep. They must be pretty upset with me.

Christ is Lord of both the dead and the living, so why then do you judge your brother or your sister? Because we all stand before the judgment seat of God. Every knee shall bend, every tongue shall give praise to God.

Or maybe they aren’t so upset after all. One of them might be the lost sheep tomorrow. I’m just glad we have food to eat, and sometimes straw to dig down into and curl up together, and listen to the savior’s song.

(Romans 14, Psalm 27, Matthew 11, Luke 15)

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