Protect the Herd
“The wolf shall live with the lamb” – Isaiah 11:6 (NRSV) “See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves.” – Matthew 10:16 (NRSV)
Armed with nothing but the peace they offer, Jesus sends the disciples out almost as prey, knowing that the wolves would pack up and attack.
How, lamb, do you offer peace to a wolf?
I’ll be honest. I’d prefer not to be the lamb in this situation. Maybe a direwolf. Or a bear might suit me better.
But disciples don’t get to fight back in kind. They have to offer peace. We have to offer peace.
Was Jesus naïve? I don’t think so. It’s clear he knew that in many cases his peace would be rejected. That many a wolf couldn’t look past the lamb being a lamb, even though that lamb would bear precisely what the wolf needed.
You may be a disciple.
But you’re not the only one.
There are other lambs.
And if we’re doing our job, then the people with whom we interact will encounter another lamb in due time. And maybe something of the cumulative effect of the peace we attempt to give will change things.
Until the day when Isaiah’s vision comes true—that the wolf lies down with the lamb—we’ll only get glimpses of when this isn’t adversarial.
But those glimpses are worth it.
Because hearts must change and the gospel must be preached.
Strengthen us, O God, and may the protection of the herd be clear and present. Amen.
Kaji Douša is the Senior Pastor of The Park Avenue Christian Church, a congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, in New York City.