Today we begin the week leading up to Christ the King Sunday, the conclusion of another church year. At the congregation I serve, it's a most festive day as our relocated building was dedicated to the glory of God on this day in 1991.
I hear these warnings from Jeremiah as crucial to the leadership of pastors who serve local congregations. What kind of shepherd am I? As one who is in his 28th year as pastor of King of Kings, I ask myself regularly—what kind of leadership do I offer to this congregation?
Yet serving as a pastor is not first of all about what kind of shepherd I am. It's sharing the vision of a God who cares for the flock, both locally and beyond the four walls of our church building. God promises, "I myself will gather my flock" and "will raise up shepherds who will shepherd them." And Jesus' words&mdash"there are other sheep not of this fold" encourage me to search out for the activity of the Shepherd King throughout our world. God is doing amazing things!
Good Shepherd, we ask your forgiveness for those times when our actions cause division and pain. May we be agents not of fear, but of hope and peace. In your name we pray. Amen
Jeremiah 23:1-6 (NRSV)
1 Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord.
2 Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. So I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the Lord.
3 Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply.
4 I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the Lord.
5 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.
6 In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which he will be called: "The Lord is our righteousness."