It’s funny how God always seems to show up in the most unusual places. And how reassuring it as to hear God’s voice through the tiny speaker say, “In 200 feet turn right.” It was as if the trees had parted and the cellular light shone upon us. Lo and behold a small mountain road appeared. And we faithfully turned right, following it blindly all the way to the airport.
The rest of my family would not be so lucky. Apparently there was a bad accident on the interstate that caused a huge traffic jam. They all missed their flights home.
Over 6,000 years before cellular technology, a poet wrote these words, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” I have often read the 23rd Psalm at funerals and at the bedside of the sick and dying because it speaks so well to the peace and joy that God provides. The psalmist paints a symbolic and tender picture of a God comes to us, and gives us comfort and hope in our time of need.
I think that poet were to write this today, he might describe God as our GPS who leads us to out of the way places so our souls can find peace and rest, and our thirst can be quenched without fear or worry. No matter how dark or scary the journey might seem, God leads the way home where a hot meal and comfortable bed awaits.
In John’s gospel, Jesus builds on this theme too. And I think it’s safe to say Jesus is our G.P.S. as in he is the Good People Shepherd; the one God sent to gather the sheep, to care for them and keep them safe.
Many years ago, Pope John Paul II said, “God has thought of us from eternity and has loved us as unique individuals. He has called every one of us by name, as the Good Shepherd calls His sheep by name.”
We are God’s sheep who looked after by a Good People Shepherd.
Thanks to my smart phone, I now know a few things about sheep. First, they’re smart and very perceptive. They know their shepherd by the sound of his voice, and even his scent. Second, they do not just blindly follow as the old maxim suggests. Sheep follow their shepherd willingly because he has spent his life living with them, looking out for them, building a relationship of trust with them.
The Good Shepherd knows which ones are cranky in the morning and which ones lag behind or wander off. He knows this because he’s chased after them; fallen in the mud with them; picked thorns from their hoofs; and chased off wolves. He has learned to love them in spite of all their noisy bleating and baaing.
We are God’s sheep, and we are called to follow, not blindly but willingly, because we know what God is willing to do for us no matter the cost. The Bible tells us that when we follow the Good Shepherd, we are less likely to wander of the righteous path where the mental wolves of the world want to steal and scatter us.
But we all wander off from time-to-time. And eventually each one of us will get lost. How blessed are we to know that we have God’s GPS, the Good People Shepherd, to get us back to where we ought to be.
Today there’s a standard feature that comes on all iPhone called, “Find my phone.” It’s there for the off chance that my phone should get lost or stolen. Humans also come equipped with similar technology. Being made in the image of God is like having a divine chip implanted in us so we are always on God’s radar. God always knows where we are, because God is always with us – whether we know it or not.
Jesus, our Good People Shepherd, comes and retrieves us when we are lost. When the world steals us away, Jesus finds us and guides us back to the right path. Sometimes our life will take us through the darkest valleys and the desolate mountain roads, but God is always with us, to navigate the way.
As we move through the Easter season, may we come to know Jesus not just as the Good Shepherd who knows his sheep, but also as the divine GPS who implanted our lives into his. Just as he has laid down for his life for us, so too will Jesus lift us back up again. Jesus not only brings us with him, but sits us down with us at God’s table so we can receive grace-upon-grace until our cup overflows. Through him, we are invited to “dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of our life.”
No matter how advanced technology will become, I don't think it will ever be able to do for you what God has already done for all through Jesus.
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An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one" ~John 17:21
“Prius vita quam doctrina.”
~ St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
* “Life is more important than doctrine.”