|Theme:||Salvation through Jesus Christ - Proper 24 (29) Year B, Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost|
|Object:||A stuffed lamb or a picture of a sheep.|
|Scripture:||All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6 (KJV)|
If you could be any kind of animal, what animal would you like to be? Why? (Give the children time to respond.) Well, one animal some of you might choose to be is a sheep. Do you know very much about sheep? I found some very interesting facts about sheep. For example, did you know that...
The Children of God are referred to as sheep throughout the Bible. Why? For one thing, raising sheep has been an important way for people to make a living for thousands of years. People in Bible times knew a lot about sheep, so they were a good object to use in teaching. Another reason is because we humans have so much in common with sheep.
For example, sheep aren't very smart. If a sheep tries to go through a hole in the fence, and the hole is too small, he will just keep on trying to go forward instead of backing out. Like sheep, we aren't very smart either. We keep on doing the same things over and over and expect different results.
Sheep are followers. If one sheep moves, the others will follow even though it may not be a good decision. If the lead sheep jumps over a cliff, the others are likely to follow. Sometimes we are followers too. We follow what other people are doing, even though it may be harmful to us.
Sheep sometimes wander. They graze without paying attention to where they are going. They may be unable to find their way home even when it's within sight. We sometimes wander too. We stray away from what God has taught us to do. Like the sheep, we sometimes can't find the way home even when it is in plain sight.
Fortunately for the sheep, the shepherd is there to rescue them and bring them home to the sheep fold. Fortunately for us, we also have a Shepherd to rescue us and lead us home. In our Bible lesson today, the prophet Isaiah said, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." He was foretelling that Jesus was coming to rescue the straying sheep.
All of us like sheep have gone astray. Fortunately, we have a shepherd to lead us home. Jesus is that Shepherd.
Dear Father, we thank you for sending your Son to save us, your lost and straying sheep. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
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