Pause

Traveling to a new place can be a great adventure. The most venturous are more than willing to take even an unmarked road if they feel it holds the possibility of new knowledge or experience.

But even the most foolhardy traveler wants to believe they can find their way to a familiar path if they come to fear they might be lost.

Christians who are on the way know they have an ever-present companion in the journey, a shepherd always there to guide.

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Listen

"When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers." Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

John 10:4–6

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Think

Stranger Danger! That was one of the lessons taught to children ages 4–7 during a 2-week summer program called "Safety Town" in our Chicago suburb. Aside from learning how to cross the street safely, and getting to drive toy cars, the children were told by the teen volunteers that they should never talk to or follow a stranger for any reason. Our son shared this with us during dinner one evening.

All of us, including his three-year-old sister, listened and nodded. Yet I was still surprised when, several days later, she “scolded” me for talking to a woman in the neighborhood whom we had never seen before. “Mom, you shouldn’t do that! She could be stranger danger!” She was being overzealous and taking the warning a bit too literally, to be sure. Nonetheless, in that moment she believed she was protecting me from harm.

Who have been the good shepherds in your community whose faith-filled words and actions have helped keep you from danger?

Christine Vogel

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Pray

Gentle Shepherd, I know that you will not lead me astray. Keep me on the right path as I journey through the world. Amen.

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Go

When my paper heart’s in a frantic wind
And I fear I'm all alone,
My whisper is heard when I call out to him
And I follow the shepherd home.

All the burdens weighing on my back
Aren't so heavy after all.
Faith is knowing you need only ask.
You can follow the shepherd home.
You can follow the shepherd home.

From "Follow the Shepherd Home" by Mindy Smith

Christine Vogel

Christine Vogel is an ordained teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA). She has been a parish pastor, a college chaplain and, most recently, the dean of students at McCormick Theological Seminary. She is currently completing a course of studies to be certified as a spiritual director. She lives in Chicago with her husband, Paul.

How Great Thou Art

Clay Mottley

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