(A note from the Rev. Thomas Nibbe: “You are most welcome to join us for the series of Sunday’s on the Book of Ezekiel at 9:45 a.m. @ Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 1165 Seville Drive in Pacifica, CA. Lutheran Coffee will be served by all attending. Before, go to “marinscope” and “marin local news” and then “columns” to pick up on the focus of the Bible Study.)
The Rev. Thomas Nibbe
Sunday, April 25, 2021 @ 11 a.m.
“…ask and it’ll be given to you…seek and you’ll find…knock and the door
will be opened to you…for…every one who asks receives…the one who
seeks, finds…to the person who knocks…the door will be opened…”
[Jesus] (Matthew 7:7-8)
“…’What are we going to do with these men?’ they asked…’Everybody
living in Jerusalem knows they have done an outstanding miracle and
we cannot deny it…” (Acts 4:16)
“…this then is how we know we belong to the truth…and how we set our
hearts at rest in His presence whenever our hearts condemn us…for God
is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything…” (1 John 3:19)
“…if then the light within you is darkness…how profound is that darkness…”
[Jesus] (Matthew 6:29b)
“…don’t give dogs what is sacred…don’t throw your pearls to the pigs…
if you do, they will trample them under your feet and then turn and tear
you to pieces…” [Jesus] (Matthew 7:6)
“…I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly…”
[Jesus] (John 10:10b)
“…when Jesus finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at
His teaching…because He taught as one who has authority, and not as
their teachers of the law…” (Matthew 7:28-29)
Would you pray with me today?
Dear Lord, you are the Good Shepherd. You seek the lost, and sometimes
that lost sheep is us. You guide us when we are perplexed and bring us into
your forever fold. Feed us this day. Bless those suffering and feeling alone.
Make us to be satisfied in our lives as you comfort and heal us daily. More
than anything else, allow us to feel the fullness you have built within us.
Make us one with you. Allow us to live in that fullness and one day be united
with you in eternal life, based upon your undeserved grace. In Jesus’ name.
“…the One who is within you
is greater than the one who is in the world…” (1 John 3:4b)
This is the Sunday of the Good Shepherd, the fourth Sunday of Easter. I have
always had mixed thoughts about Jesus’ teaching in this regard, until I had the
opportunity to witness shepherds, first of all, in Pakistan, up in the foothills of
the Karakorum range, (the Himalayas), above Chikagali, some miles from
Abbottabad, way up there. You see, I was raised in Wisconsin, and we knew
nothing about shepherds, except what we heard about in church on Sunday.
I used to go to the mountainside, about seven or eight thousand miles up from
the plains, with my Canadian pastor buddy, sit, and talk, and pray. These were
memorable times, even after the decades, plus, and a time in which both of us
shared priceless insights into the Scriptures and our lives. Sometimes, as we
were conversing, we would wonder what we were doing in this remote place,
so far away from North America. Pastor Gene would say, from Scripture, “…
do not despise the littleness of lesser days…” (I haven’t found it in the Bible.)
On several occasions, sitting together looking down thousands of feet to the
plains of the Punjab, we were fascinated by a child tending her sheep,
a shepherd girl, not more than nine years of age. She always seemed covered
with dust, sometimes caked with dirt, face covered with her soiled niqab,
because she was perhaps always outside without the convenience of water to
wash. Such a sweet little girl she was and so attentive to her sheep. The sheep
were like “living play-things” to her. You could see that she loved them, and that,
they were her only companions day after day. Where she slept I don’t know.
Whether she had regular time with her human family. I don’t know. She was a
small, female copy of the shepherd boy, David. She seemed so attentive and
so responsible for her tender age. I often wondered what kind of future she
could possibly have…I think I really knew…but for those days…her sheep were
everything to her. I could imagine David being much the same as this little girl.
Jesus described himself as the Good Shepherd. The people listening to him
could understand exactly what He was trying to say in providing an image for
them. They could respond in a way I hadn’t been able to embrace, if you will,
until observing this little shepherd girl on a regular basis. Because of customs
and language we were not able to communicate verbally. We were getting a
footing in Urdu, but she spoke B’hari, the mountain dialect.
The boy shepherd basically lives with his sheep. They are very affectionate
and sweet and communicative. He directs them, as Psalm 23 suggests, to
clean, refreshing water. He leads them to green pastures. He protects them
from the mountain lion, the bear, and the wolf. He develops strategies to
fend off predators that would harm or kill them. His clothing and his food come
from them, almost exclusively. Frankly, I don’t know how a person can live with
sheep, and share so much, (sheep are capable of communicating very well),
and then kill them and eat them. I guess it’s just a matter of survival…
The Good Shepherd, Jesus, is a very affectionate Lord, a great Savior, and a
friend, to the very last, which for us, will always be, the great destiny we have
by simply trusting in Him. He not only provides our every immediate need, but
also, promises that when we trust in Him, we will not only have all we need,
day by day, but also extraordinary things will happen to us. Trusting in the
Lord Jesus, I have experienced things in life that just seem (at times) unbelievable
compared with what would have happened, if I left the planning up to myself.
I let the Good Shepherd lead me. It seems to me that you’ve got to “Let go and
let God” in your life, for things to really work. Yes. We always want control…and
we want what is convenient…and safe…and comfortable…and familiar.
But to allow the Good Shepherd to guide and lead us is to experience adventure,
a powerful and very helpful change in priorities for us. Let the Good Shepherd
take control. Let the Good Shepherd have sway. Let the Good Shepherd speak
to your heart about the reason you were born and the purpose in your existence.
God bless us all in these difficult days. We are in the Lord’s hands. However,
be safe, be healthy, be available, be well. You are precious in His sight!