Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Of Sheep and Scripture …

As far back as I can remember, sheep have been among my favorite animals. When I was about 3 years old, I remember seeing an advertisement (I don't exactly remember what it was for) that featured a little girl petting a lamb with her parents watching. From what I remember of the picture, the family's car was parked along the side of a road and the little girl was petting the lamb in a pasture near the road. Some how my 3-year-old mind came to the conclusion that if I just watched closely, I would find a lamb alongside the road and that we would stop and bring it home. Mind you, I hadn't given even the slightest thought to what we would do with it once we got it home. Just the same, I remember many car trips in which my eyes were eagerly pealed to the side of the road watching for my lamb.

Fast forward a year or two to a time when my family did have sheep. I remember when the adult sheep arrived and my disappointment at finding they were not nearly as cute as the lamb I had been watching for. In the spring time, we did have some lambs, and my sister and I had the experience of bottle feeding some of them. Of course the harsh reality was that the bottle lambs of spring ended up in the deep freeze in the fall.

As I got older and started taking on handwork projects, I naturally gravitated to ones that included sheep. I particularly enjoy projects that incorporate Bible verses in the design and reflect the Christian journey. For good or for bad, sheep are not exactly the brightest creatures. In fact, a line from the movie Babe states that, "Sheep are stupid."Perhaps it is fitting that people often are likened to sheep in a number of Scripture passages. Without a shepherd's supervision, sheep have a tendency to wander and find themselves defenseless and in dangerous situations. As Isaiah 56:3 reminds us, 
 "All we like sheep have gone astray."

Fortunately, we have a Good Shepherd who never calls us stupid. Our Good Shepherd seeks those who are lost to bring them into the fold. John 11:11 tells us that "the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep."

This final image is of the first cross stitch project that I finished after I was married. I love the verse that was included in this project that reminds us of our standing because of the Shepherd's sacrifice in laying down His life for the sheep. This verse also reflects the true source of peace that we find through faith in Christ alone.

"Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 5:1