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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So again Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."

John 10:7–10

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We live in a world where computers can generate letters that address us by name, and  robo-phone calls can do the same.  In most case these “personal” communications are designed to get something from us, such as money or political support. The fact that they know my name doesn’t mean the letters and calls have any real meaning for my life.

When Jesus calls us by name, he wants to give us something.  Jesus opens a gate and beckons us to follow him through it to opportunities for discovery and possibility we may never have considered before. He gently shepherds us toward the kinds of satisfying service and “soul work” that can engage us and enrich us throughout our lives.

When we listen to his voice, we realize that this is a deeply personal call. We dare to trust that we will be fed abundantly when we listen and follow him.

Christine Vogel

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Keeper of the Gate, give me ears to listen carefully for your call. Help me to use my gifts and skills with faith and to trust that you will lead me to abundant life. Amen.

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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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