Buscamos inspiração na pessoa de Jesus para fazermos a nossa jardinagem do espírito. Ele foi o jardineiro por excelência. Soube cultivar as sementes da fé para produzirem plantas que fornecem abrigo e sustento. Este blog é um esforço para fazer a nossa jardinagem das passagens bíblicas à luz de Jesus que é digno de servir como nosso modelo.
Convidamos os leitores a aprenderem com ELE e fazerem a sua própria jardinagem.
sexta-feira, 13 de fevereiro de 2015
A GOOD SHEPHERD CHURCH
I am the good shepherd.
The good shepherd
lays down his life
for the sheep.
John 10:11 (read 10:11-18) - NIV
We romanticize the Bible. We often ignore the down-to-earth
side of the images used. This passage uses the figure “shepherd” (sheep
herder). Herding was (and still is) an economic activity. The sheep were the
livelihood of their owners. They provided food and clothing (meat, milk and wool).
The shepherds gave them protection and shelter in return for what they provided
for their owners. Wolves were enemies of the herd owners because they
threatened their livelihood. The shepherds’ battle against wolves was to
protect their own means of support. Rich owners could hire employees to take
care of their flocks, but they would not have as much at stake as the owners,
because the sheep weren’t theirs. The bottom line is that the sheep were
"objects of production" for the well-being of the owners.
The Gospel of John presents Jesus as a “Friend
Shepherd” (Good Shepherd) as a contrast to a commercial shepherd. In commercial
terms a Friend Shepherd would be a failure. To give his life for his sheep
would be insane. Instead, the sheep always gave their lives for the shepherd.
The Friend Shepherd figure would ruin the economic scheme.
Commercial shepherds, whether owners or employees,
could represent religious structures that put economic values above human
values. Religious organizations are sacred, and the people (sheep) were the
means of supporting them. The people (sheep) had value to the extent that they made
sacrifices for the benefit of the institutions. In contrast, the Good Shepherd had
the spirit of a friend putting the welfare of people in the foreground, above
that of institutions.
The treatment of Jesus as the "Good Shepherd who
gives his life for the sheep" is academic and abstract. It is dogma that
is not put in practice. In practice, the Jewish temple was replaced by the Christian
Church. Christians say that they are the Church that Jesus founded. As
"Church", they move away from the suffering world and form closed flocks.
They feel that they need to preserve their identity. They are more interested
in showing how they are different from others than by identifying with the
"lost" in our society. They demonstrate their spirituality with
external signs: pharaonic buildings, ability to manipulate the masses with
large concentrations and gain political power. Most of the offerings and gifts
go to maintain the structures. Feeding the hungry and housing the homeless are
not priorities. The wolves attack and they take refuge within our folds. They
are afraid of losing ground.
The great challenge for the Church is to fulfill the
role of the Good Shepherd (Friend Church), remembering that the fold is the
world. John Wesley captured this spirit when he declared: "The world is my
parish”. Be the continuation of Jesus in the world requires a lot of courage.
The Friend Church would not be afraid to die for the world because it would
have to trust that death is not the end. The resurrection is the divine
John 10:11-18 – New International Version (NIV)
“I am the good shepherd. The good
shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd
and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the
sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man
runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd; I know
my sheep and my sheep 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 are not of
this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and
there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is
that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but
I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority
to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”