The image of the shepherd is a favorite image for God in scripture. It is an important image to understand the Risen Jesus. He is a shepherd on the journey through life and death, a shepherd who does not walk alone. He leads his sheep through “the valley of death.” He brings them to green pastures, to rest “all the days of our life.”
God’s shepherding takes many forms. God is the Shepherd of Israel, we hear in the Old Testament. The Lord is my shepherd, Psalm 23 says; God shepherds us on the personal journey we make in life; God is with us at every moment, good or bad. God also shepherds his church, the new Israel, and he will always guide it, even in periods of uncertainty.
But does it end there? What about our world, which is also on a journey? If we believe Jesus Christ is its Savior and Lord, will he not be its shepherd too?
Easter time is a good time to think about the unknown in all its dimension. As we look ahead, our world faces many dangers. It’s clear our environment is endangered. What shall we do? As the nations of the earth are drawn closer through new systems of communications and economic development, violence and terror are so evident. Can we live in peace?
We’re tempted to close our eyes and lose hope. But God always tells us to face life and go on. Alone, we may see a dark valley ahead, but a Shepherd leads us, so let’s not fear.