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Imagining the Lectionary: Sheepish (Christ the King/Reign of Christ A)

Reflection accompanying images “I will find my sheep and rescue them” and
I will surely judge between the fat sheep and the scrawny sheep

When it comes to getting the point across in a way that anyone can understand Jesus inhabits the tried and tested tradition of his prophetic predecessors in the faith. By choosing familiar aspects of common life as vivid illustrations of God's relational activity and desire Biblical metaphors seem remarkably resilient to the passage of time and the semiotic attrition of cultural development. Likening God to a shepherd and us to sheep conveys meaning even within today's predominantly urban and techno-centric worldview.

The story Jesus tells of the sheep and goats (Matthew 25:31-46) builds further on the everyday rural imagery which Ezekiel deploys to such good effect. There God is likened to a shepherd whose primary concern is to find and rescue the sheep. This picture presents a simple, straightforward and timeless insight: God loves us all so much that God never ceases from trying to bring us home to the fold of grace and that life-changing relationship of love in which we truly belong. So we are challenged to consider whether we too are lost in some way and of how we might in fact be far from where it is good for us to be. This question addresses us spiritually, psychologically, socially and spatially across the entirety of our being as individuals and of course collectively too as communities and societies.

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