Lessons from lambs
“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
On this Good Shepherd’s Sunday, about 18 members of the congregation and their friends enjoyed a hands-on experience of entering a sheep pen — with the permission of the gatekeeper.
We couldn’t say with confidence that we were the immediate friends of the ewes and lambs that filled the pen, but by the end of an hour there was a certain bond that had been established, much to the delight of everyone who particpated.
The experience began after the 10 a.m. service when everyone was invited to travel to Journey’s End Farm on Two Lights Road to see, touch and even pick up the very subject of Good Shepherd Sunday.
There, on the farm owned by Richard and Louise Sullivan, were 12 precious lambs and their protective mothers. Everyone had to step in a Clorox solution before entering the pen to rid their boots of any bacteria, but then it was up close and personal for both adults and their children. Everyone took full advantage of the opportunity.
Louise explained that the lambs had been born in late March and early April and all but one of them were white ewe or female lambs. The only ram or male lamb was solid brown. Louise said it was very unusual to have so many ewes and only one ram in the spring birthing.
When the lambs and their mothers first encountered our inquisitive group, most of them headed for the safe haven of the nearby barn. But it didn’t take long for the animals and humans to warm up to each other and eventually the lambs were being held by some of the congregation’s children. Could there have been a more appropriate Good Shepherd Sunday?
Click here to see more images of the Journey’s End Farm experience: