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Showing Up

Anyone who has sheep (or any other kind of livestock) will tell you it’s a rare and beautiful thing when there’s perfect law and order. Most days, we’re pretty happy with controlled chaos. But on this day, every lamb has shown up and is exactly where he or she is supposed to be at the feed rail. Guess you could say that today we have our ducks in a row — or in this case, we have eight of "the cutest sheep in the world” in a row!

But let’s not focus on one picture-perfect moment. Let’s talk for a minute about the other times when push comes to shove, when feeding time — and by way of analogy, life itself — is messy; when we trade the exquisite banquet prepared for us for what feels like a food fight in a middle school cafeteria.

I humbly suggest we all have a bit of the prodigal in us. Our fallen human nature, though redeemed by Christ, is prone to wander, prone to excuses, prone to acts of disorder and disobedience, as innocuous as they may seem to be. Perhaps we don’t like discipline, rail against conformity, or reject “organized” anything. So, instead of showing up and taking our place at the appointed time —  in church on Sunday morning — we forfeit authentic, spiritual nourishment for the slop of the world and then wonder why we’re chronically hungry, exhausted, and soul-sick.

Three of the four Gospel writers took special care to record Jesus’ Parable of the Wedding Feast. You know, the one where a king gave a wedding feast for his son and sent his servants to gather the many who had been invited. But the invitees were full of excuses: Sorry, I’ve bought a field and I must go see it. Sorry, I bought five yoke of oxen, I must go examine them. Sorry, I got married and I can’t come. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry.  All they had to do was show up and it would have been the King’s pleasure to provide a body-and-soul-reviving, lavish “feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine, well refined.” (Isaiah 25:6)

Every single human on the planet is invited to taste and see how good the Lord is. One way to do that is to honor Him through right praise and worship in the company of our flock-mates on Sunday mornings. Sure, there are all kinds of excuses that could keep us from the feast. But when we show up at the feed rail — when “two or three” are gathered in His name, Jesus, the Son of God, promises to be among us, to feed us with his Word and the Bread of everlasting life.

Yes, the meme is true: Jesus wants EWE in the PEW! We are His people, the sheep of his flock, and it gladdens the Shepherd’s heart when each one of us is present and accounted for. He knows life is messy and we’re a wayward bunch. He doesn’t expect us to have “all our ducks in a row.” But I’m confident it utterly delights him to see all of us sitting in a row, dressed in our Sunday best with our hearts wide open.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”~ Rev. 3:20

Sunday’s coming, y’all. And so is the King.

See EWE in the PEW! 🙏


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