I believe that this image of the Good Shepherd has endured precisely because of its radical departure from the common image of a distant and disinterested and sometimes even vengeful god. This image tells us that our God loves us and cares for us and journeys with us as we travel through the valleys and hills of our lives. But too, it may well speak to us of what we are called to be…in Christ’s image…”good shepherds” of the lost and vulnerable, the poor and the forsaken. That we are called to go after them, to reach out to the marginalized and the ones society dismisses or demeans.
And as we celebrate Earth Day we recognize that truly “good shepherds” also recognize the importance of creation and our environment for their sheep depend on a healthy ecosystem. So as “good shepherds” we are also called to care for creation, to be aware of how our lives impact the earth and the lives of others. How am I being called to be a “good shepherd” in my family, in my school or place of work, in my community, in my nation, in the wider world? What am I willing to risk “as a good shepherd” for the sake of the flock…for the sake of creation…for building up of the Reign of God?