faithbook     A message for quiet meditation

by JAN FARROW, Lay Reader at Holy Epiphany



It’s that time of year - the sheep are in their fields daubed with red or blue numbers and the lambs are growing. I do once remember seeing a flock of green sheep in Wales where the dye had obviously run into their coats with the rain, very attractive if rather alarming!

Now I wonder which sheep you like in the pictures - they are rather lovely. I like the one with the bucket on his head - rather like me first thing in the morning when I’m not too sure I want to face the day By the evening I am more like number 1; rarely do I bound like number 9 - I should be so lucky!

I had many experiences with sheep when visiting my friend in Wales who, knowing nothing about sheep, decided to shepherd her own small flock. We learned many things, not least of all what clever escape artists they were. Having got themselves through the fence they would trot down the hill and join a flock of several hundred sheep belonging to a proper farmer. Here they would stand in the middle of the field looking all innocent. Have you ever tried identifying sheep? We had to call the shepherd, who knew his own sheep, to come and shift the interlopers.

Jesus said “I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.”

What a wonderful truth - God our Father knows us. The Good Shepherd knows us even when we go astray as it were. He comes looking for us, can identify us and lead us, yes Lead us back, not herd or force us back.

Let me tell you about Blessings, an orphaned lamb adopted by Hepzibah, my friend’s flat coat retriever. Hepsi had just had 10 puppies when Blessings arrived, and they all lived together in a large puppy enclosure in the dining room, although at night Blessings was banned to her crate in the lean-to. There was nothing Blessings liked more than to come for a walk with the 3 big dogs, and be allowed a sip of sherry and some crisps in the evening before dinner. I think above all Blessings taught me to expect the unexpected, that God will provide for all our needs if we trust Him, but not in a way that we had necessarily thought of or even hoped for.

I pray that you will know the Good Shepherd’s love and provision for you, and that you will receive blessings above and beyond anything you would have thought possible. That’s certainly true in my life. Let’s look for God in the unexpected.