Sunday, July 19, 2009

Of Sheep and Men

Today at ECOOS we avoided controversy by listening to our lessons and having a short sermon delivered by the Rev. Mary Cat Young who, although she worked in a pitch for good works and youth mission trips, blessed us by giving us a chance to forget the foolishness delivered by our Episcopal church General Convention. We came together to worship the Lord, and that we did.

I would like to think that Mary Cat was acting to avoid the woe that Jeremiah directed to the shepherds in the O.T. reading Jeremiah 23:1-6,
"Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord. Therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. So I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the Lord. Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the Lord.

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’"

If she had tried to reconcile the signals being sent from our national church via GenCon09 with the recent profile of our diocese (see Profile of Conservative Upper South Carolina), she would most assuredly have failed, and in so doing would have scattered the sheep further.

At some point it will become necessary for one's clergy to direct the sheep. It is at this point that my lack of confidence in our human leaders begins to turn my nose up. I must never forget that the Lord is my shepherd, not the rector, not the curate, and not the bishop.

In so far as we sheep have a say so in the matter of who our earthly shepherds might be, the past few general conventions send a clear message that we need to choose better than we have in the past. In the Episcopal church's way of doing things, old shepherds never die, they just breed more of their own. Change as far as shepherds goes, never occurs rapidly, and for this reason, people have who get mad leave, some to protect their children from the corruption of TEC, and others to protect their souls from what they see as a church that has abandoned the teachings of the apostles, the faith of the saints, and word of God.

The lost sheep will continue to follow the purple shirted, white collared false shepherds. There is another shepherd the rest of us will follow. As our bleating sound is raised to Him, may we listen to His reply, even though it might be, "Deal wisely with men, choose your earthly shepherds carefully, Oh My sheep."

Something, or was it someone, moved me to tears by verses 1-5 of today's sequence hymn, Hymn 693 and shut me down before v.6.

Just as I am, without one plea,
but that thy blood was shed for me,
and that thou bidst me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not
to rid my soul of one dark blot,
to thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, though tossed about
with many a conflict, many a doubt,
fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
sight, riches, healing of the mind,
yea, all I need in thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, thou wilt receive,
wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
because thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, thy love unknown
hath broken every barrier down;
now, to be thine, yea thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Thy rod and Thy staff break those barriers down; they strike me, and guide me, but still, they comfort me.


  1. Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)

    Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

  2. Given the rather harsh warnings God delivers to those who claim the calling of "Pastor" or "Prophet," it's amazing that so many of our shepherds seem compelled to run amok. It almost makes one wonder whether they, ya' know, believe the stuff they're preachin'.


  3. That is an incredible post. Thank you. I tossed it into Lobster Pot with the appropriate hat tip. Thanks. Rick+

  4. Thanks Dean Lobs.

    Randall, I am afraid they do believe their own preaching/propaganda. Unfortunately, sometimes it is "wrong preachin."

    Cato, If this be battle, we must be battle ready. Study, study, study. Sharpen your sword, and strap on your helmet.