Good morning, girls and boys. I brought something to show you. I wonder if you know what it’s used for? I’ll give you a hint- it involves running… a race.
Yes, I brought it to remind you of a baton used in a relay race. You know what I’m talking about. Your team lines up with all the other teams, and the first person of each team runs hard around the track, carrying the baton, and then hands it off to the second person who runs the loop. Then that person hands it off and they keep doing this until the last person runs.
As I was getting ready for worship today, today’s scripture and the scripture we heard in Funday school last week reminded me of the baton too. I wonder if you can listen and see why.
It’s been many weeks after Jesus rose from the tomb and was with the disciples. They had LOVED being with him. One day he met with them and told them something important, something that was hard for them to hear. He said that they had been his sheep for a long time, but now it was time for them to be shepherds. They had been part of his traveling home for a long time, but now it was time for them to help others make a home for their faith. They had been part of Jesus’s story for a long time, but now it was time for them to share the story with others- like us- so that we could be part of Jesus’s story.
Later, the disciples returned to Jerusalem and to the upper room again and Jesus led them out of the walls of Jerusalem and to a hillside, maybe near Bethany. Jesus stops and they gathered around him. He lifted up his hands and looked at each one and blessed them. And then the scripture says he withdrew. A cloud took him out of sight.
Have you figured out why this story reminds me of the baton? There’s no running or a baton in the story. The story reminds me of handing off of a baton, when Jesus says I’ve been your shepherd but now it’s your turn to shepherd others in faith. To help others discover their own faith home. To help make others faith part of Jesus’s story. Then he leaves. He has passed the baton to them. Others have passed it to us. We are the shepherds now, whenever we follow Jesus and share our faith.
Let’s pray: Dear God, thank you for Jesus, our shepherd, the one who shows us how to live with each other in love. Help us follow his instructions, to become part of his story and to help others become part of his story too. WE love you God. Amen.