Original Posting At http://precedinggrace.blogspot.com/2019/11/shepherds-go-before-us.html
Lectionary Reading: Jeremiah 23:1-6 (NRSV)
Leadership is a tricky thing. Centuries ago, people knew the difference between being led by an autocratic king and being led by one who adopted the attitude of a shepherd.
Over 3,000 years ago, the prophet Samuel pointed out all of the abuses that people suffer at the hands of kings. Now, in Jeremiah’s time, several hundred years after Samuel, the people are looking once more for leadership. We see the line of David who was considered the mightiest king of their history being called upon once more to produce a leader.
However, this king will have more of the attributes of a shepherd.
A shepherd goes before the sheep to ensure safety and safe passage.
Shepherds may even put their lives on the line when the sheep are threatened.
A king is often seen more as directing others to make the necessary sacrifice.
What if a shepherd becomes a king?
|When hiking, I never ask anyone to follow where I have not gone first.|
As I think about leadership in my own life, I can remember the Rev. Dr. John Rusco asking lots of questions. He was my campus minister as an undergraduate. In dealing with college students, you can’t always just direct through telling them what to do. It helps when they come to the realization themselves. Or at least for me, that would stick better.
John was the master of asking probing questions that would allow us to determine our own best course of action. Too often, young people may balk at being told what to do and sometimes they do the opposite of what you tell them! And as we know, young people grow up and I don’t think we handle being told what to do any better as middle or older adults than we did as young adults.
How do we lead like shepherds? Going before and creating safe spaces to explore and find the right path?
We’ll continue to explore this theme as we worship Sunday. It is the last Sunday of the Christian Lectionary Year C. In December, we will start a new lection cycle with Advent. But before we get there, we celebrate the Reign of Christ Sunday. It is a celebration of how we see the world and I hope you’ll join us in some form or fashion!
Photo by Sheryl Heaton Powers, taken 11.16.2019 at Canyon Camp near Hinton, Oklahoma.