O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people: Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (BCP 225)
John 10:11-18 NASB
“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.
Other sheep of other flocks… who are they? The outsiders, the outcast, the forgotten? Could they be the ones lost to violence, poverty and oppression at the hands of the powerful and secure? Might they be those who worship God by some other name? Are they those who if they came to our church on Sunday would be condemned by our judgments? Who are they? Only the Shepherd knows. He knows them by name, calls to them and promises they will hear His voice. They are His sheep and we, together, will be one flock. Have we made room in our sheep pen for all of God’s sheep?