On every other Tuesday night I go to vespers at my small beautiful Carpatho-Russian Church—we have vespers and my priest teaches on the Gospel of John afterwards. It is such a special time for me there; this week we looked at John chapter ten. This Gospel is all about Christ as the Good Shepherd and about how His sheep know his voice. Then we talked about how a priest is also to be a good shepherd to his flock and the difference between a true shepherd and a false shepherd is that a true shepherd loves his flock and would die for it, and a false one would merely run away, not caring about the flock under his care.
I know I have seen true shepherds in priests—and this helps me see it also in God, as it gives me something tangible to see and experience. When I am in church, learning about these grace and love filled teachings, I feel so alive, and at the same time so safe, loved and at peace. The next morning the teaching was again confirmed—my more protestant-based flip calendar’s verse [paraphrased from The Message] was John 10:27-30:
My sheep recognize my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them real and eternal life. They are protected from the Destroyer for good. No one can steal them from out of my hand. The Father who put them under my care is so much greater than the Destroyer and Thief. No one could ever get them away from him. I and the Father are one heart and mind.