Friday, May 25, 2012

Is this the lost sheep? Is this sheep lost?

Photo by Ruth Hamilton

My sister has been posting photos on FaceBook from her recent vacation abroad.  Just the other day I posted one here and added a verse from Psalm 23.  Taking up the theme, she recently sent me the photo above with the caption, "The Lost Sheep?" (Click on the photo for a larger version.)

I like the photo and I like the caption.

Here's the scripture from Matthew 18: 12-14
What is your opinion? 
If a man has a hundred sheep 
and one of them goes astray, 
will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills 
and go in search of the stray?
And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, 
he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine 
that did not stray.
In just the same way, 
it is not the will of your heavenly Father 
that one of these little ones be lost.
Now, let's take a look at the photo...

As the parable suggests,
this lone sheep has, for some reason.
strayed from the flock and its Shepherd
and is lost, in need of rescue...

Could one who is lost be so visible,
so easy to find?
Yes...
Sometimes the one who's lost isn't hidden at all
but stands, rather, right at our side.
Who in my own circle is lost
and yet in plain view,
right beside me, near me, within my arm's reach?

Or perhaps the one who appears to have gone astray
isn't lost at all...
Perhaps it's the 99 who have wandered off, as a herd,
not really knowing where they were going...

The photo shows the lone sheep but not the 99.
Where are they?
   - with us, this side of the fence,
         the lone sheep having transgressed the boundary?
   - or behind the lone sheep
         who's gone ahead to survey the hills for the others?

And what of the Shepherd?
Where is he?  Where is he searching?
Has he given this sheep to wander,
   to see where it might go?
Does he worry that the 99 will be jealous
   to see his love for the one who's gone astray?
And once they're all gathered together, the 100,
   where will the Shepherd lead them?
And will another, or more, go astray?

Matthew's verse will long outlast my sister's photo,
and the Lord's parable will still be told
long after my questions are forgotten.

Still, that one sheep may have something to teach us
about ourselves, our flock and the Shepherd who guides us.

 

   
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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I looked at your sister's blog after reading this post to find additional photos from her trip. She is an excellent photographer!

Rosemary

Ruth Hamilton said...

I knew you would come up with something brilliant! The way you present the possible different angles really causes a person to think, ponder, wonder, then realize how each possibility is a reality at any given time.

Rosemary - thank you, but the credit for the photography really goes to the new iPad. That picture was actually taken on the fly in a moving car! All I did was click!