Recently in my reading I have been reading of the development of the technological world emerging before us. What I have read has disturbed me and I learnt that such a wall along both the Mexican border and the Canadian border is not so absurd at all. In fact one technology company has already begun creating a technological wi-fi type wall that depends upon the meta data governments accumulate on each of us.
It’s scary stuff.
Another development is how there are an increasing numbers of places where walls are being built around communities, because powerful people believe walls solve problems. We know of the wall between the Jewish and Palestinian people, but there are other walls being built in other places around different types of communities.
In America, there are regions where the ultra-rich are walling in their self-contained communities to safeguard their wealthy life style and avoid having to deal with the less fortunate. On the other hand there are communities of the most desperate and poor that are being walled in so that the rich and powerful are able to control those they regarded as problematic.
What’s the picture you can see?
I am concerned that the world is becoming increasingly divided and fragmented due to the many major challenges. Following this trajectory it means the ultimate break down of society, of humanity.
Does this need to be the case? Is it the only way to solve the worlds problems? Jesus saw a different picture with a different way forward. The picture he painted, while spoken of earlier in his life, gives insight into resurrection life.
Resurrection offers the ultimate life of unity, the life of peace and love between all. But it also expects a certain way of life.
THE GOOD SHEPHERD
Jesus told the story we speak of as the Good Shepherd. Of course it is a figurative image and we have to relate it to the ultimate reality he is more concerned about. (That is, it is really about a state of mind, not a physical space)
He begins by describing his own fenced community. He spoke of the sheep pen. The place the shepherd would bring his sheep into at night for protection and from where he would collect his sheep in the morning to lead them out into the wider world of pasture. In telling his story there are two features that are emphasised.
HEAR HIS VOICE
The first is that the sheep hear his voice. To understand this we picture the pen. It is an enclosed area into which not just one shepherd brought his sheep. But many. When each shepherd came to receive his sheep from amongst the pen, those of his flock, could tell his voice from the others.
So to think of this image as a figurative example he is really describing a state of mind, not a physical space. Ultimately, resurrection is discovering the realm of mind that unites all. Jesus depicts it as minds coming together as in listening to one another. The sheep here my voice. Hence this state of mind is the state of relationality, and in its perfection love.
Hence far from dividing humanity, as the good shepherd, he calls his people to enter the fullness of trusting relationship with him.
The second is that he is also likened to being the gate. So what is the sheep pen he is really talking about? It is the experience one is prepared to trust the shepherd to lead one into. Passing through the Gate which is the spiritual reality that is Jesus like, the revelation of the divine absolute,’ the fulness of being.
It is the spirituality that humans may embrace and which Jesus revealed as that which we call resurrection. It knows no bounds, it is the unity of all.
The way humanity has been heading, appears to be a horrible fragmenting humanity with debilitating consequences. The more I read of the way people of power sought control of this digitalised world, I was concerned for future generations.
Humanity has been jettisoning its unifying vision.
The more I reflected upon the heart of the parable of Jesus the Good Shepherd I was reminded that with the spirit of the risen Jesus, we are being drawn into the fullness of life and the fullness of community.