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gather the flock

Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the LORD. Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. So I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the LORD. Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the LORD. The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which he will be called: “The LORD is our righteousness.” Therefore, the days are surely coming, says the LORD, when it shall no longer be said, “As the LORD lives who brought the people of Israel up out of the land of Egypt,” but “As the LORD lives who brought out and led the offspring of the house of Israel out of the land of the north and out of all the lands where he had driven them.” Then they shall live in their own land. (Jeremiah 23:1-8, NRSV)

Woe to you who scatter and destroy the sheep!

To the shepherds of Israel, which would have been the priests and the scribes and the high council, today it would be pastors, and church councils and denominations, you are the ones destroying and scattering the sheep of God!

Woe to us, who think it is all about us.

Woe to us who push our agenda and not God’s.

Woe to us when we get in the way of God moving in this world!

God’s ways are not our ways.

Help us to see the path You have set before us God and follow where you are leading.

Help us to be gathers of your flock and not ones who scatter!

Help us to be and do you will!

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Let them be one…

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,  that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,  I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.  Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.  O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me.  I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:20-26 ESV)

That they may all be one…

What does that mean? That we may all be one, united in what God has called us to.

As I think about us all being one I ponder over the number of Lutheran denominations there are. Now I ponder on Lutheran denominations because I am Lutheran. But there are many different denominations for each denomination. Even Catholics have more then just the Roman Catholic…

So I googled Lutheran Denominations and got a long list and on the page was a link to Lutheran denominations in North America so I clicked the link. This link showed 37 different Lutheran denominations in North America. I had heard at one point there were 95 in North America. But still 37 different kinds of Lutherans is a lot. How can we all be one?

And that is the thing of Jesus’ prayer for all of us. He is asking that we be united as He and the Father are united. They are not the same, but they are one. We are not the same but we are one.

There is a story about a man named Danny who comes across a man with a well used floppy bible. Danny asks him if he is a believer and the man replies yes. Danny then asks a number of questions to make sure he is actually a believer. You can guess how this ends. If someone disagrees with one part of my faith then they are a heretic and are not a true believer.

In the garden, as the Jewish authorities were on their way to arrest Jesus and have Him put to death Be prayed that we may be one. United in Him and the Father. He did not ask that we would agree on which hymns are good or what kind of bread we should use for communion or what age should people be allowed to take communion or that we would agree when a person should be baptized. He asked the Father that we could be one, united as He and the Father are united.

Our unity is in Jesus’ death on the cross for us all.

So live in the tension of not agreeing with all of your brothers and sisters but united in the mission we all share: to tell the world they are lived by God!

 

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