Happy Good Shepherd Sunday! The fourth Sunday of Easter is unofficially known as Good Shepherd Sunday. It's the Sunday when our scripture, music, prayers and preaching revolve around the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd.
I spent my first call serving as the Associate Pastor at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in DC. Every year on Good Shepherd Sunday the Senior Pastor of the church would dig out of his desk a clergy shirt that he bought in the wrong size at a clergy conference many years prior. He would carry it with his bulletin into worship and hold it up in front of the congregation. Then he would announce that he and the church were looking for people who might want to wear that shirt. It was his way of planting the seed in people's minds that God might be calling them to be a pastor. He used Good Shepherd Sunday as a way to remind the congregation that the church was in need of good people willing to serve God's flock.
This weekend, let me carry on the tradition by using Good Shepherd Sunday as a way to remind all of you that God needs good people willing to serve God's flock. You don't have to be the shepherd! There's only one Good Shepherd and that role is already filled by Jesus Christ. There are, however, a whole lot of "head sheep" roles up for grabs. That is, after all, what pastors are. We are "head sheep," of sorts. We are called out of the flock to help lead, comfort, watch over and keep together a portion of the flock who is ultimately led by the Good Shepherd.
The Good Shepherd's flock is large, diverse and made up of all sorts of sheep who need leaders who represent the flock's diversity. These leaders are people who feel the tug of the Holy Spirit on their hearts and have a love for all God's sheep. They are people who are willing to pray and discern God's will for God's flock in whatever place they are called.
I invite you to take a moment in the coming days to pray about how God might be calling you to help lead God's flock. Maybe it is as a pastor...maybe not. Maybe it is as a Sunday School teacher, Stephen Minister, choir member or something else entirely that our church doesn't even yet know we need. The sky is the limit! Pray, listen, open your ears to hear the call of the Good Shepherd in your life.