Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Sad but Hopeful Lesson of a Little Lamb

My dear friend Maureen is a farmer's wife and she encourages her husband to bring any rejected or lost new born lambs into the house and she loves on them and mostly they grow big and strong in the warm house with the showers of food and love.

On Friday I met the newest little lamb and was in awe of how small she was and how much she needed the love, warmth, food, security and protection of a mother. Maureen provided that, as she always does so willingly, feeding through the night and never complaining, as she did with her own children. One full grown Timmy lamb and a smaller Rosie lamb graze outside her door, living evidence of what love can do.

This one was named Sally lamb. We all hoped and prayed she would grow big and strong and join the other foster lambs outside. Sadly, that was not to be. Despite all of Maureen and her family's love and food and warmth, she died last night. Maureen is very sad, she did everything she could to help Sally stay alive, and yet it wasn't enough.

I see us all as little lambs like Sally. We are vulnerable and weak and so much in need of unconditional love, warmth, food and security. Maureen personifies that kind of love to me; by her self sacrifice, by her unconditional love and by her generous caring and uncomplaining ways. Despite that love, little Sally died. Unlike us, Sally had no say in whether she lived or died.

We choose to live and be fully alive, or not. We choose to accept God's unconditional love and care. We choose.

Little Sally's death made me sad too, but I found hope in little Sally's sad story, hope for each one of us,  each one Jesus' little lamb.

When I was a child I learned a hymn at church, and each little lamb that Maureen lovingly cares for reminds me of it. Each little lamb reminds me of us. His lamb, that He sacrificed His life to save. Do you know how much you are loved by the Shepherd of us all? Could you be Sally lamb, or Timmy or Rosie? You choose. I pray you choose life.

"I Am Jesus' Little Lamb"
by Henrietta L. von Hayn, 1724-1782

1. I am Jesus' little lamb,
Ever glad at heart I am;
For my Shepherd gently guides me,
Knows my need, and well provides me,
Loves me every day the same,
Even calls me by my name.

2. Day by day, at home, away,
Jesus is my Staff and Stay.
When I hunger, Jesus feeds me,
Into pleasant pastures leads me;
When I thirst, He bids me go
Where the quiet waters flow.

3. Who so happy as I am,
Even now the Shepherd's lamb?
And when my short life is ended,
By His angel host attended,
He shall fold me to His breast,
There within His arms to rest.

Hymn #648
The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: John 21:15
Author: Henriette L. von Hayn, 1778
Translated by: composite
Titled: "Weil ich Jesu Schaeflein bin"
1st Published in: Brueder Choral-Buch, 1784
Tune: "Weil ich Jesu Schaeflein bin"

and here is a link to one of my favourite Keith Green songs