My dog went to church today, and it isn’t St. Francis Sunday. Mother Kay used as a sermon illustration for the good shepherd. Ash is a seven year old Australian Shepherd, who used to have a job, working with our sheep. Now she tries to herd the neighbour’s cats, who just aren’t into it.
I must say that she has come a long way from the year old flibbertigibbet she was when I got her – eating my boots, chewing through power cords, breaking leashes and in general being a very bad dog. She walked into church on a lead, with Mother Kay, and that choir moved right along ahead of her. She wasn’t taking nonsense from them! If one of them had tried to break and run, she would have been right on her.
She sat at the front, calmly surveying the flock in the pews. But once she spotted me, she kept a close eye, just in case I needed her to do something important. After the sermon, she trotted down to me, lay under the pew and put her head down. She came to the altar rail at communion, and sat behind me. The parishioners hadn’t dare get out of line while she was there!
I’d say she was an excellent ilustration of how the Great shepherd of our lives turns us into faithful sheepdogs, obedient and alert, if we let Him. Honestly, I almost gave up on that dog in the first six months. But she settled down, figured out that I had her best interests in mind, and excused all my faults. (Which is a bit different from our relationship with Our Saviour. The fault is all on our side.)
I was proud of her, not in a proprietary way (I hope) but because she has fulfilled her potential as a sheepdog, and as a companion animal. She is faithful and trusting, accepting without question what she is given. It’s an excellent example to follow in Christian life!