This week’s lectionary passages center on the Good Shepherd. Last Saturday Doug and I took the kids to a sheep shearing festival at a nearby farm. We got to see a sheep sheared and feel the wool. We got to watch some amateur sheepdogs herding sheep. Jack’s favorite part was when the sheep got spooked and ran out of the pen and up the nearest hill, right toward the concession stands. The dogs chased them, the dog’s owners chased them, and people scattered. Jack laughed and laughed. The next day at church, he told everyone who would listen what had happened and how funny it was.

Mostly I thought it just showed how incredibly dumb sheep are. Which is probably the point because in the Good Shepherd analogy, we are the sheep.

But if I’m honest, most of the time I think of myself as the shepherd—loving, kind, compassionate—or at least the sheep dog, smart and obedient.

And then there are the days (like oh, say, today, for instance) when the truth will out.

While I was dressing this morning, my children had a poop party in the bathroom. My daughter chose this day, when I have a cold, a headache, and a fever (it’s probably swine flu…), to poop on the bath mat, step in it, and then traipse round the house. The words I uttered—in a shrill voice at decibels I did not know I could reach—were fouler than the crap all over the bathroom floor, tub, and toilet.

And it went downhill from there.

Evidently, I’m just a sheep, prone to running amok when life doesn’t go my way. Which is why it is good to remember that I have a Shepherd who is with me, even when I can’t see past my own stuffed-up nose. Jesus bears my burdens, and that includes the burdens of being ill, angry, and a miserable mother. He carries those—and me with them—holding me close because that’s the only place I’ll ever be okay.

The lectionary passages for the 4th Sunday of Easter:
Acts 4:5-12
Psalm 23
1 John 3:16-24
John 10:11-18