News from Holy Trinity
Twice a year, we have a Vide-Grenier, a Table Top Sale. The first of 2019 is on Saturday, May 11, from 10 am until 4 pm.
Please come to support it and encourage your friends to do so, as well.
If you still have things you wish to donate, there’s still the opportunity to drop things off between 2 and 5 pm on Friday, May 10.
I am sure that the wardens and the team running the sale will welcome offers of help on the day; it’s never to late to volunteer.
I remember reading a book called Akenfield by Ronald Blythe shortly after it was published over thirty years ago. It describes life in a Suffolk village.
This separation from the production of food can distance us from the imagery of the Bible, which presupposes knowledge of these activities. Think of the Parable of the Sower or the many stories involving Peter and the other first disciples who were fishermen; and Sunday’s Gospel where Jesus talks about ‘my sheep’ and depicts his opponents as not being his sheep. He will be a Good Shepherd for his sheep and will keep them safe and promises them eternal life.
This imagery of shepherding also recurs throughout Christian art. Moreover, the words often used for clergy – pastor/pasteur – and their work – pastoral care – come straight from the Latin word for shepherd, pastor.
However, the prevalence of the ‘shepherd’ in the Bible and Christian art doesn’t mean that we understand it fully. The symbolism and practice of shepherding were very different from anything we might know.
For the Jews, the Good Shepherd stood for God. We know this from Psalm 23, the psalm appointed for Sunday: ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’ (and sung in a metrical version). In Jesus’ day, the word “shepherd” also conjured images of selfless love and sacrificial service, which is why Jesus used it of himself.
People of Jesus’ time knew that a good shepherd led his sheep to the pasture, provided them with food and water and protected them.
Moreover, the shepherd was a leader (one of the reasons that many rulers referred to themselves as shepherds of their people): he went in front and the sheep followed behind. The shepherd was also perpetually guarding his sheep against being lost or being preyed upon by robbers or wild animals. The shepherd also searched out lost sheep and tended them if they were hurt. The shepherd was even prepared to sacrifice himself to protect his sheep.
Once we understand these fine points of ‘sheep talk’, we can see why it makes sense when applied to Jesus. Jesus leads us; Jesus guards us from evil; Jesus looks out for us if we stray from him; he comforts us when we suffer; and he laid down his life for us, his sheep.