September 10, 2009
For you are our God, and we are the people of your pasture and the sheep of your hand. Oh that today we would hearken to your voice! ~ Venite (Ps.95:7)
Today in seminar we considered Seward Hiltner's image of the Solicitous Shepherd. What did we think of this image, our teacher asked. How did it resonate?
"It was flat and uninteresting," one colleague said.
"For me, too!" I replied
"While I appreciated this image, I found the last article, on The Self-Differentiated Samaritan worked better for me. Here's why..." said another colleague.
"I found this image deeply meaningful and inspiring. 'What was needed at this time (for the Samaritan found on the side of the road) was oil, wine, bandage and an inn. This was the sole relevant testimony for this occasion.' This struck me as doing what one can to be a solicitous shepherd," added the other colleague.
And so it goes in our seminar. We all have differing opinions and in our sharing we challenge each other to see parts we had not previously recognized. I realize that I struggle with me as a shepherd because I've never met a shepherd, well, personally. In my rounds at the hospital, I don't particularly feel like I'm herding sheep. I think sheep are cute and cudly and I appreciate that in ancient times shepherding was one of the lowliest and most humble career paths that one could choose. Scriptures are filled with imagery of shepherding.
I'm going to pray about the solicitous (anxious or concerned, eager, careful or particular) shepherd for a while and see how my heart softens towards this image.
Maybe I'll start by relating to *being* one of God's sheep. Perhaps today I will hearken to Your voice.
How does the image of shepherd work for you in this moment?