Sunday's Old Testament reading is one of the many (483,923.41 to be exact) passages in the Bible with sheep-related imagery. Which makes sense, because in Old Testament times, everybody either had sheep or knew somebody who did.
But by Jesus' time, shepherding was done on the margins of society, by people who were often seen as little better than criminals.
Leading to conversations in the guidance counselor's office at Jerusalem High School like this one:
Counselor: "Thanks for coming in, we've got the results from your son's career aptitude test. Based on his scores, it looks like he’s well-suited for a career in piracy or grave-robbing, or as a shepherd."
Mom and Dad: "Wait, what?"
Counselor: "On the plus side, you won't have to worry about paying for college..."
When you hear all of the shepherd stuff on Sunday, think of a business or trade on the margins of society. About the image of God doing that work. And what that tells us about the God who is isn't afraid to get His hands dirty rescuing each and every one of us.
More on this tomorrow.