I dream a world where all
Will know sweet freedom's way,
Where greed no longer saps the soul
Nor avarice blights our day.
A world I dream where black or white,
Whatever race you be,
Will share the bounties of the earth
And every person is free,
Where wretchedness will hang its head
And joy, like a pearl,
Attends the needs of all mankind—
Of such I dream, my world!
from "I Dream A World," by Langston Hughes
Watch out, you shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture, declares the Lord. This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, proclaims about the shepherds who “tend to” my people: You are the ones who have scattered my flock and driven them away. You haven’t attended to their needs, so I will take revenge on you for the terrible things you have done to them, declares the Lord. I myself will gather the few remaining sheep from all the countries where I have driven them. I will bring them back to their pasture, and they will be fruitful and multiply. I will place over them shepherds who care for them. Then they will no longer be afraid or dread harm, nor will any be missing, declares the Lord.
The world is full of barriers. They were there when we were born; they were there when our parents and grandparents were born, and so on and so on. I’m reminded of this every morning when I turn on the news. Whether it be race, gender, or class, it is clear to me that we are not living as one flock; we are scattered like the sheep Jeremiah is lamenting.
Jeremiah is not blaming the sheep though; they are innocent creatures led astray by shepherds who don’t care about them. Who are these shepherds in our own time? Greed, racism, power, and apathy sound like good places to start to me.
Some days it seems overwhelming to be a sheep in this world, where it is easy to be led astray. In those moments we are called to look to our one true Shepherd, Jesus Christ. He will make us one flock — not because he is the most powerful shepherd, but because he is the most loving and knows us each by name.
Lord, this world makes it hard to love one another. Give me strength to love all of your creation, and at your coming make us into one holy flock. Amen.
The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.