Fourth Sunday of Easter April 26, 2015
Do you remember the television show This Is Your Life? There was always a voice coming from behind the curtain that was recognized by the honoree.
When we answer the phone, we listen for a familiar voice. When we are out shopping or at a restaurant, we hear a familiar voice and are excited. When I was injured as a young child, it was comforting to hear the familiar voice of Mom. The forensics shows on television sometimes feature voice analysis: trying to identify people by their voice patterns. There are new security measures that use voice re-cognition systems for door entry, unlocking cell phones and com-puters, and more.
Voice recognition isn’t new. The shepherds in the fields used it in Jesus’ day. A shepherd knows each sheep by name, who they are as individuals, not “Hey, you!” At milking time, my grandma on the farm in Arkansas would call her cows: “Sook, Strawberry!” They knew her voice and would come.
In Jesus’ teaching, the sheep do not follow the stranger. Jesus is accusing the religious leaders of his time of being false shepherds or hirelings. They are the strangers who care nothing for the sheep, but will run away at the sign of any danger. Jesus is the Good Shepherd, whose voice the sheep follow, and who will stick with them.
When Jesus teaches us, we need to ask ourselves, “Do I need to change my attitudes, thoughts, and life?” We hear the voices of false shepherds attempting to give us the secrets to happiness, fulfillment, and success. Yet we discover that they are worthless secrets. What are the voices around us saying? To whose voice are we listen-ing? What is God saying to us through Christ as the Good Shepherd?
William A. (Bill) Rinderknecht, pastor, First Moravian Church, Uhrichsville, Ohio