Thursday, March 28, 2013

Matt and I noticed the Easter ads this year... 
  • Did you know there is such a genre as "Easter ads?"
  • Is it strange that Easter's looking like a mini Christmas?
  • Is it bold to say that Easter is more important than Christmas?
Now I don't want to get all preachy -and I'm certainly aware that not all of us celebrate Jesus' resurrection and prefer bunnies and eggs over church- but what is going on!? Why must children receive video games and dolls in fancy Easter baskets strewn with candy? I'm all for sweets and themed-celebrations, but come on.

Okay, that's enough. Thanks for letting me vent a little. I think that trip to Israel just gave me a little perspective, that's all. Here are these churches and Christian groups fighting over land, church traditions, arguing over sacred turf where Jesus did this, that or the other. And here we are spending $60+/plate for the perfect Easter brunch. Was Jesus really petty like that? Would Jesus be whiny if Mary didn't get him the newest Lego set or Nintendo 3ds game? Would he expect at least 30 eggs to hunt and find to fill his Easter basket?

So...let's shift our thinking a bit. It's Maundy Thursday, after all! Jesus gave us a mandate (via Simon Peter) to feed and care for his sheep. There's this image I'll never forget. Our tour guide (Mishi) randomly stopped our bus on the side of the road. He pointed over to this old man tending his flock. He had two dogs corralling the sheep, and the few goats led the sheep to green pasture. Our guide said that each shepherd here knows each of his sheep very well. I wonder if they name them. They are always watching their sheep and can always tell when one has gone astray. They never rest until they find that one lost sheep.

I've heard this 'story' my whole life, but it was different to see it with my own eyes. Not only are the sheep an investment and part of the shepherd's livelihood, they are also the shepherd's identity. The sheep, in turn, find their comfort and 'home' in their shepherd, who protects and unconditionally cares for them. And those sheep do dumb things sometimes, like I saw one who tried to run out into the road, and the shepherd immediately coaxed the sheep back to safety. What is the moral of the story?

I. am. a.  .

But so are you. And we are loved. And cared for. And Someone is keeping a very close eye on us, to protect us and have our back. And, even when we do dumb things, Someone still values us and calls us by name. But not Lamb chop, that would be a weird name. Hope you're feeling sheep-y today. Happy Thursday!

Thanks to critternook for the photo. 

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