Our reading for Sunday starting with the words of Jesus: “Do not be afraid.”
But the sentence Jesus said before that is worth reading. “Seek God’s kingdom and all these things will be added to you. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.”
What delightful and amazing and amusing words.
The people following Jesus are to pursue the kingdom.
Peter and Judas. John and Thomas. Mary and Mary and Mary.
In the face of earthly kingdoms. In the face of opposition and death. In the face of insurmountable odds, they were and we are to set ourselves to look for the ways that the values of the kingdom of God can and are expanding around us.
And when we look at them and each other and our mirrors and say, “Us? In our fragileness and inadequacy, the kingdom here?”
“Little flock,” he says.
It’s a term of endearment. An affectionate acknowledgement that he knows we don’t look like much.
The good shepherd looks at the sheep gathered in front of him, depending on his protection and his leadership and his guidance to water and food and safety, depending on his good will. He says, “Little flock” and some of them are reminded of the times he talks about a shepherd going looking for a lost sheep, a shepherd leading the flock to safety, the sheep knowing that voice, trusting that voice.
And Jesus says,
Don’t be afraid, little flock, your father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.
You don’t have to fight for it or earn it. You don’t have to be tall enough for the ride to get into the kingdom. It has been given to you.”
more of this story on Thursday.