Loud and Clear
“The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out … and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.” – John 10:2-4 excerpts (NRSV)
The first thing my daughter told me about her new teacher was how tall he is. “Taller than you, Daddy.”
The second thing was how loud.
“When recess is over, he yells, ‘TEEEEEAM OOOOOOH SIIIIIIIIX!’” She made her voice as low as she could as she imitated his call.
How do the sheep know the shepherd’s voice? Maybe they’re born knowing. But I suspect it helps to learn what to listen for.
At one of my the churches I serve, Gilead, each week two people get up and share a true story from their lives about anything at all. And when they finish we say, “The word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God.”
The response reminds me to listen closely for the shepherd. God’s name is rarely mentioned in the stories. But God’s voice is all over the place if I’m paying attention.
The hope is that, by practicing, we’ll recognize it more easily. In other people’s stories. And our own.
A couple days after my daughter told me about her teacher, I was praying in the sanctuary of the other church I serve, Bethany.
I had tuned out the sound of the playground across the street. Until I heard a deep voice bellow, “TEEEEEAM OOOOOOH SIIIIIIIIX!”
And even though I had never heard him speak myself, I knew just whose voice it was. Loud and low (and tall).
Good Shepherd, speak through my story today.
Vince Amlin is co-pastor of Bethany UCC, Chicago, and co-planter of Gilead Church Chicago, forming now.