We’re living in those forty days that commemorate those joyful forty days when our risen Lord showed himself alive and well to his own. In those forty days our Lord gathered the lost sheep and put his flock together again. There is no picture more fitting of this joyful Easter tide than that of the good Shepherd amongst his own flock in all the glory of his resurrection. Christ and his flock, Christ and the gathering and regrouping of his apostles, Christ the shepherd amongst the slaves. Could we dare say that this Lord Jesus Christ is not ours? That’s insufferable. Could you persist on your own – living on the edges over the precipice of hell? Can you hear the risen Lord call you: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Mat 11:28 NIV) Don’t these words awaken the willingness and even desire to follow our Lord through suffering and cross? Our Lord says to Isaiah: “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And he said, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isa 6:8 NIV) Today he asks something far lighter and easier: “Whom shall I call?” “Who will follow me?” Who would not answer: “Lead me o my Shepherd, I will follow you, pastor of my soul, have mercy on me and be patient with me! Lead me your way. Guide my on your path. Take me by the hand and lead me on. Wherever I don’t want to go, pull me there. Where I can’t go, carry me on to get me to your destination for me. O would these words burn in our hearts and allow us to live in love and following of our beloved Lord and God.
Mighty helper in the skies: Help us to joyfully live together in your flock, that are with you and grant us the strength to endure the pain, if straying sheep don’t follow your merciful and gracious call. Amen.
Are we not elect too? Does he not grant all our need and fulfils all our shortcomings? Yes he has called us into his loving care, where we praise him in peace that passes all understanding.
O faithful shepherd and caregiver of your flock – let us never lack your gracious gifts – the treasures of our salvation and sanctification. Lead us on to your green pastures until we see you return in glory and we see your salvation. (Christian Gottlob Barth, 1799-1862)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Thursday after the second Sunday after Easter: Misericordias Domini. It is found on Pg. 177 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.