This passage from Ezekiel struck me this evening:
What sorrow awaits you shepherds who feed yourselves instead of your flocks. Shouldn’t shepherds feed their sheep?.. You have not tended the sick or bound up the injured. You have not gone looking for those who have wandered away and are lost. Instead, you have ruled them with harshness and cruelty. So my sheeph have been scattered without a shepherd, and they are easy prey for any wild animal. They have wandered through all the mountains and all the hills, across the face of the earth, yet no one has gone to search for them…
For this is what the Soverign Lord says: I myself will search and find my sheep. I will be like a shepherd looking for his scattered flock… I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. I will bandage the injured and strenghten the weak. Book of Ezekiel 34.
It seems appropriate for all sorts of reasons. Last week the priest of my wife’s Catholic church shut it down under false pretenses (see savestmarys.net/blog), the culmination of a long plan to close it and ultimately most of the small Catholic churches in South Jersey. There are sheep that will be scattered by these acts. I’m also just so acutely aware of religious of all denominations who are so caught up in the human forms of our church body that we’ve lost sight of those who are wandering in the wilderness, easy prey for the wild animals of our worldly lusts. I take solace in the promise that the Lord’s Shepherd is out looking for us.