As I read this weeks lectionary choice I started grinning! We are approaching sheep Sunday!
About fifteen years ago soon after I'd moved here from Essex I sang in the choir of my local church. We had a part time vicar who used the rectory at the weekends but lived inland for most of the week. He was a lovely man who often gave various people extra readings to contribute to the service on Sunday.
Another member of the choir had been given a poem to read on sheep Sunday. The opening line read, "Oh I am a silly sheep"
My fellow alto took great exception to this poem. She was an excellent reader who often contributed to the services. As we robed in the vestry she muttered and groaned but she was clearly going through with it!
When she got to her feet and advanced to the microphone the entire choir held its breath!
"Oh I am a silly sheep" rang out and then she stopped. "Actually I'm not a silly sheep and I don't think any of you are either. " after having read the offending poem she returned to her seat, flushed but triumphant! The vicar didn't say much . But the choir did afterwards...
This lesson in choosing your readers with care has stayed with me! Shortly afterwards our brilliant reader left the choir and stopped coming to church! A nerve had clearly been hit!
If I bump into her now she still refers to it in scathing tones.
People on the whole don't like to think they are sheep in the greater scheme of things....and yet Psalm 23 is still a firm favourite with everyone, especially when set to music!
Jesus instruction to his disciples to "feed my sheep" is one all of us engaged in leading worship try to follow. We are not talking grass here...
The glory, the beauty and the sheer joy of Christian worship at its best is what we all aim for...and occasionally we manage it!