The following homily was delivered from the readings of today. Acts 13:14,43-52; Ps 100:1-2,3,5; Rev.7:9,14b-17; Jn 10:27-30.
Things would not be this way if he was still in charge. Were our leader, or were our grandmother, or were our hero still here, things would not have been so bad. Often, this is the state of our life, we recall good times. We remember the past for what good it had for us. We remember those who were good to us. We are confident in our leaders. And then things change, maybe for the worse, and we long for them again. Like, we have no future.
This sentiment, a longing for an old hero, a yearning to restore a leader, this sentiment was part of Israel for centuries. Since David, the great Shepherd King, Israel longed for a new hero, and yearned for one like David. Israel yearned for a Shepherd. Yet, even David was a concession, for God, Most High, was their King, God was always there for them, God was always guiding them, God was always their shepherd. David, and his reign as King was very touchable, but they remained in the past, blind to the future.
Since the time of David, Israel was longing for another David. The Psalmist, the Prophets, especially the prophet Ezekial, often attempted to direct Israel to that central truth, that God would always be there to shepherd them. God would always belong to them as a shepherd, and the people would always belong to God. Empires would rise and fall. Invasions may lay waste, famines, trails, and struggles, and God remains for them a shepherd. God remains with them. And, despite the challenges, they remain with God. They have a future.
Yet, it was always a temptation for Israel, and is always a temptation for us. It is a temptation to long for David, instead of the future with God who shepherds us. It is a temptation to long for the past, instead of the future that God leads us to. It is always a temptation to see good in the past, a temptation to see doom in the future.
For some of us, brokenness may be a more tangible reality. For some, it is hard to conceive of a shepherd who will never fail us, a leader who will never disappoint us, a leader who will never let go of us. The cynicism, the brokenness, the distrust we have for leaders is so pungent, so thick, among many young people. Being led astray by the failures of any leader is a terrible thing, perhaps even leaders, and bad shepherds in our church. Being astray can keep us trapped, lost, with no shepherd, with no future.
Yet, as God leads us, he calls us to confidence, God calls us to faith, God who cares for us, who loves us, who embraces us, who overpowers our sins with mercy, God who ensure us green pastures of rest, God who will wipe away all our tears, God, our shepherd, will always shepherd his people to the future.
And is it not Christ, who has begun to fulfill this for us? Is it not Christ who has always clothed us in white at Baptism, and united us to the his Resurrection in new Life? Is it not Christ who already liberated us from our sins, from injustice, from brokenness, and leads us to justice, leads us to wholeness, leads us to holiness? Christ, who, one with God, shepherds us to God! Christ, who a shepherd who exceeds even David! Christ, who though shepherd, is also a Lamb given himself over to us completely!
We, People of God, have such a blessing to receive such a calling, to receive such a gift as hearing the shepherds voice, a blessing to hear the shepherd say our name, to call us to new life, to call us to his justice, to call us to wholeness, God calls us to the future, God promises a tomorrow!
A future, a tomorrow where there is no more night, where there is no more brokenness, where there is no more injustice, where the hungry are satiated, where those who cannot trust will have faith confidence and trust restored! Where we will be led to springs of living water, forever in the presence of our shepherd. Such is the future for you, such is the future that God promises.
And our future is already manifested before our eyes, such that we can taste it. Our shepherd, who gives himself, sacrifices himself for us, Christ gives himself to us, to taste the future, where all of God’s people will be gathered as one, by the One Bread and One Cup! So, people of God, let us turn our backs from our past, from our brokenness, from our own failings, and from the failings of leaders, to the future that we begin to see, touch, and taste, the future shown to us in the Eucharist, and give thanks rejoicing in this future that our Shepherd has granted us.