Dots of white are scattered ‘cross the hillside.
Flocks of souls are grazing as they roam.
Left of here lie cliffs along the ocean.
Misty winds there keep the grass
A lush and tempting green.
To our right, the burning Eastern Desert
Lies just in sight beyond the rolling hills.
To our south, dark jungle-lands,
With swamps, and bogs and ponds.
And northward, see the lands climb up
To jagged rocky heights of mountains cold.
The sheep have all been gathered here
By shepherds wise and old.
These men have known the dangers
West, and east, south and north.
Though gathered here, each year
The flock is losing many sheep.
The older shepherds tire
And begin to look to me
And all my kin to take the torch.
And as I survey out across
The scenery of these moors.
I quickly come to realize,
That I cannot do this task that lies before.
In my brief, short time of training
As a shepherd/sheep for God,
I’ve seen, heard, and observed,
Some shifting patterns in the flock.
My calling is to help them feed
On Grass of Truth from God,
Seems simple, and it is.
Simple, yes. But easy? Not.
Every place I look
There are other tempting grasses,
Grasses I must first resist,
Then lead them on in trust to do the same.
Some sheep strangely wander
To the Desert of the Right.
They find a curious comfort
In the heat and burning light.
They go there for the leaders of that place
Are loud and strong.
They talk and shout about pure grass.
But little grass is grown.
The burden there of growing
Tends to weigh and burden down.
The sheep end up assigned great work
Which sheep were not designed to do.
And never will get done.
Many sheep are also lost
Along the Cliffs of Left.
The heights are risky, edgy,
And uncertain for the hoof.
But sheep will brave them merely
For the tasty grass afoot.
Not knowing that the grass is lush
Because the shifting tides and winds and mists –
Which will trap them, get them lost, or worse
Push them to their deaths –
Are the reason for the green.
Still other sheep,
While not sucumbing to the Left or Right,
Will sneak down from these foothills
To the Southern Jungle’s Night.
Here, they play their chicken games
With predators and snakes,
Feeding on the thrills and spills,
The Jungle’s lethal stakes.
It usually isn’t long before
A trap or snare is sprung,
Some poison is consumed,
Or a fatal blow is blown.
Far too rare is ever seen,
An injured sheep along the path,
Making his repentant, long, return.
And let us not forget the dangers
Lying to the north.
The Ivory Tower Mountains
Have the strangest of appeals.
The sheep who leave the flock
To take these long and winding roads,
Often feel that they’ve outgrown
Their need of shepherds on their own.
They hope to find a higher grass
That, when eaten, thus will grant
A new place of authority,
A higher “sheep-hood” than the rest.
This strange allure of knowing more,
On scientific heights,
Often decimates the finder’s sense
Of belonging in the flock.
It is not easy, as a shepherd,
Caring for your sheep,
Knowing all these dangers,
And the pressures that they bring.
The anchor in the chaos
Is the grass beneath our feet.
While not quite as appealing
As some other dainty treats,
This grass here on the Hills of Grace
Is managed, not by temptors,
But by God, the Lord on High.
The grass here, takes some work to find,
And tastes of bitter tones by times.
It lacks the pleasant, sugar coating
Many sheep now crave and hope to find.
But, tasting as it does by times,
The grass here is the Truth of Life,
It’s loaded up with vitamins,
And healthy stuff inside.
And comforting to me,
One called to watch over this flock,
To make sure that they feed and grow,
To keep them safe and strong,
Is that this grass is guaranteed,
A covenant confirms its seed
And it will never fail.
There will never, ever be a need
To wander south, north, west or east,
In search of better, surer feed.
So while I rightly bear the weight
Of shepherding a flock,
The weight is never solely mine,
For Christ still Shepherds me,
Promised in this grass we eat,
Is health, and life, and joy and peace.
On grace and mercy now we feast,
With need of nothing else.
So my prayer is simply this,
As sheep and shepherd both,
Follow Christ as I do,
Though, imperfectly at best;
Trust in Him to meet our needs,
And stay here with the flock;
Feed and grow together,
On these rolling Hills of Grace.