The Rev. Mark Andrew Jones, BSG

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My Dear Friends in Christ,

This Sunday we'll hear a familiar image - that of the Good Shepherd. We'll also hear that we cannot always rely on the hired hand, especially in rough times or when trouble arises. But God in Christ is the Good Shepherd. 

The image of a shepherd is also prominent in the Hebrew Scriptures. National leaders are referred to as shepherds and God is the ultimate Good Shepherd for God's People. In the Hebrew Scriptures or Old Testament not all leaders are good shepherds; and the people suffer when they follow those leaders as opposed to God - the Good Shepherd. Where do you put your trust? Is it well-founded? 

And what are we to do if our trust in human leaders is misplaced? This day I think of and pray for the people of Flint, Michigan, who still do not have safe drinking water. Think of that! In this great land a large urban area does not have safe drinking water. Human leaders have failed the people.

Please understand this is not a partisan objection. Even after screening for cases of false equivalency, I'm sure we can find instances along the entire political spectrum where leaders have failed the people. What then are we to do? 

Return to the Lord our God, for God in Christ is the only truly Good Shepherd. God cares for us and has given us commandments, moral law, and Christ-like examples to guide us in healthy and holy living.

What does this mean for our lives in the political and often divided society in which we find ourselves? We are not to compartmentalize our values. We are not to give a pass to those of our preferred political party when their conduct runs counter to Christian values or accepted ethical or moral norms, or when their performance is sub-par. We should insist on good leaders. After all, in a representational democracy such as ours, our government leaders are our hired hands. Let's hold them accountable for performance and values that reflect our best selves, always - as we pray for them - urging them to imitate the Good Shepherd.


In Christ's Love,

Mark Andrew+