“I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep… says the Lord God.” – Ezekiel 34:15
This coming Sunday in the Christian Calendar is known as Christ the King Sunday. It marks the end of “Ordinary Time”(which doesn’t just mean dull or regular, but rather “ordinal” or counted), and our transition into the Advent season. This day signifies the end of one Christian year and the beginning of the next, and as such looks to that day when Christ reigns eternal.
Across the gospels, we see Jesus serving in several roles, and hear him described using several metaphors: healer, teacher, prophet, suffering servant, lamb, shepherd, king, Messiah. Some of these images are more practical descriptions, while others carry significant symbolic and scriptural meaning. And while some might feel more resonant to us than others, we must continue to acknowledge the limits of our language when
describing the fullness of God.
For this reason, some theologians believe that God is most accurately described or experienced as juxtaposition or paradox. (The beginning and the end; present and transcendent; Lord and servant of all.) Which, maybe helps explain why, on the Sunday we celebrate Christ as eternal king, we read most about shepherding.
While we might prefer to keep politics out of our faith, we are called again and again to look to God to govern us; to “guide with authority” all of our lives. And so, this Sunday, we’ll explore more carefully the politics of shepherding, and what it might mean for us as people of faith to live as citizens of Christ’s kingdom even now.
See you Sunday,