Dearly beloved in Christ,
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
We as a nation are on the verge of celebrating another Independence Day. We are truly blessed to live in the United States of America. Here we are enjoying freedom like nowhere else in the world. On this occasion, with gratitude I remember and salute those great leaders of our nation who were involved in the struggle for freedom and gave their life for the nation. And it is for this reason that we celebrate Independence Day on Fourth of July.
The meditations in the month of July starts with Stewardship Sunday, proceeds by Theological Education Sunday, ‘People of God: Salt and Light’, and ‘Ordained Ministry’. Based on these themes let me reflect ‘People of God: Flock of Christ’. Church likes to identify itself with the title’s children of God, called out, chosen race, the elect, and People of God, and so on. Most of the humans in one way or another like to claim superiority in terms of race, color, caste, creed, gender, and class. Most of us likes to claim superior status. Everything in life comes with a price tag and nothing is free even the status that which we like to claim. Every ‘right’ that we like to enjoy comes with a duty. No right could be exercised in isolation without the duty. In similar way People of God are the representatives and Flock of Christ. As Flocks of Christ, we are supposed to portray the qualities and character of our Shepherd. The ability and quality of the shepherd will be measured by the deeds and words of his flocks.
Flocks of Christ: called to listen and reflect Christ
In Gen 35: 1-7, God said to Jacob, ‘Arise, go up to Bethel and settle there.’ Jacob listened to the Voice of God just as his father and grandfather. This made Jacob to receive a name of Blessing from God (Gen. 35:9). Whoever listens to God, God will give a name to them and develop a bond of relationship between them. Hence People of God like flock of Christ listen to God. In the book of Joshua Israelites are enjoying the status of being the elect and chosen race. The status of “People of God” is a covenantal relationship. Covenant is a solemn agreement. A promise made with God and the people of Israel. This agreement remains until both the parties’ remains true to their convictions. The Lord demands holiness in the relationship. Holiness is required to portray the quality of God living among the nations. It is neither ritualistic experience nor an ethnic or racist behavior. It is setting apart from the worldly desires and pleasures that makes unfaithful to the partner.
Flocks for Christ: making communities of Reconciliation
The status of being People of God is an open invitation for everyone. All are welcome and Apostle Paul makes this clear to the Corinth church that to have this status. They should have the quality of being ‘In Christ’ v.17. In Christ they will be transformed to become new creation. Then they will be charged with responsibility and a mission to fulfill. Apostle Paul says that he has received the word of reconciliation and the ministry of reconciliation. He is a passionate ambassador who begs the congregation to be reconciled with God. Today we the church is called to be a community that reconciles. Our ministry and the word we preach are to bring reconciliation. Reconciliation among families, communities and countries is the need of the hour. As, ‘Flocks of Christ’ we need to follow Christ with a reconciled heart. ‘Following’ is just not limiting to the likes and dislikes, but wherever Shepherd goes, whatever the way he choose, sheep follows. Christ extended the same call to his disciples in their ‘following’. In Jesus’ earthly ministry, there were many instances that huge crowd followed him (Mt. 4:25, 8:1, 12:15; Mk. 3:7, 5:24; Lk. 9:11, and Jn. 6:2). All these texts reveal the fact that the crowd followed Jesus for getting some sort of benefit. But Jesus’ call to his flock is not just for material benefits but to carry the Cross.
Flocks for Christ: receives life in its abundance
Life of sheep is always a providence that given to them by their master. Shepherd saves the sheep. The shepherd’s worry is always about the wild animals. At any time they may attack sheep from any side. For this reason shepherd always looks around to save the Sheep from them. Sheep have intimate relationship with master. They completely believe their master. As part his caring he will dispose his best even will be ready to give up his life. Life giving commitment of the shepherd gives life to the sheep. The same way flock of Christ receives the life in abundance from their master. In Jn. 10:10, Jesus says ‘I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.’
May God the chief Shepherd empower us to be true flocks of Christ.
Yours in Christ