It was the fourth Sunday of Easter and I walked up the hill to Church of the Transfiguration to worship. I don't do that every Sunday. As a recovering Quaker, often Spirit nudges me to keep Meeting in the old way, to simply sit still and silent in the Presence until I know know nothing at all and rest completely known. But this particular morning, my wife and main muse, Jane Ella, was singing in church and my neighbor and friend, Father Billy, was preaching. I heard all about the Good Shepherd. The words were comforting and unsettling all at the same time.
One doesn't have to follow Rabbi Yeshua far to realize he's a contrary to ordinary Shepherd. His sheep are mostly misfits and runaways, rejects and deplorables. Those of us who can't make the cut in society can still count on him to take us in. He doesn't require anything of us except to be the selves we were made to be.
To do that, though, means to let go of all expectations, our own as well as other people's, to want more than anything to lose ourselves in the givingness of God, to become nothing, to become emptiness, ready to be filled and poured out again. Once and always. Now and forever.
To become our God-given self is to abandon all hope of working our way to Heaven, because we've discovered that we've always been there secure, even when we felt farthest away.