On the 4th Day of Christmas

I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.’

Who’s in and who’s out of the kingdom of God?  We like to try and guess.  We like to analyze the rules and take note of who is disqualified.  But Jesus desires to bring us together.  “I have other sheep” ought to lead us to humility.  This is where Jesus’ divinity matters: not that it sets him apart, but that it overwhelms any division we may have with others.  This may seem like a basic tenet of Christianity, but it has massive implications.  When a fundamental element of your faith is “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” it affects how you treat them; it affects what you support and what you reject.  It affects what you are willing to do and what you are willing to give up.  Those who carry his name (“Christian”) carry on Jesus’ desire that people come together.  In this way, we embody Christ.

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