Last Sunday morning I had the huge blessing of getting to go to church with the Keller family, with whom I was staying over the weekend. It is a little hard to explain how intense my first week of training at House of Colour felt, and how much energy and strength I expended to learn the things I did. That said, it is easier to explain why it was such a huge encouragement for me to get to worship with fellow believers. It was really cool to be in a fellowship of believers inn another part of the world, worshiping with the same creeds, reading the same Bible passages, and praying the same Lord's Prayer together. It was mind-blowing to realize afresh that not only does the worship of Jesus Christ go on around the globe, but has also gone on across the centuries. Very cool.
I also had the privilege of taking communion during the worship service. I don't think anything could have felt more comforting after an intense week of stretching myself, and I don't think that anything could have felt more empowering than understanding & taking the elements of the Lord's Supper. It was a gift smack dab in the middle of my training and this whole glorious experience.
An added treat was meeting a friend of the Kellers from their congregation who was a sheep farmer, whose father was also a sheep farmer. It is common knowledge that the Bible is full of analogies about us being sheep, and Jesus being the chief shepherd. I could not help but be tickled by things that this shepherd said. Every winter, 2000 sheep come down from Wales to his green, grassy pastures of southern England, and his "winters" them until the spring. This year's herd is just about ready to be shipping back up to Wales for the spring & summer. Sometimes he even gets sheep all the way from Scotland! (The harsher and colder climates in the north don't provide enough grass for these large herds during the winter months.)
Some of the interesting things he said were that the sheep always know if he is in the vicinity. When he is away they are scattered and look like a mass of confusion. When the shepherd is there, they have direction and focus. And all it takes is a word from him, and they respond with precision. His call is a simple one that sounded like "WayWayWayWayWay". (I asked him what he actually said!) And he said that this was his 'call' because his father did the same.
On days when the sheep have to be loaded in 2 or 3 decker lorries to return to Wales, he calls them and they follow. All 2000 of them! This shepherd said that if he gets a good one to lead, the process is easier because they will follow one another. He also said that Wales sheep never hesitate to go up the ramps, because they are used to going up into the hills & highlands. Very interesting.
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." John 10:27