the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
Bowen's Daily Meditations
"Ye were as sheep going astray, but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls." - 1 Peter 2:25.
Drawing nigh to Peter, many years after the ascension of his Lord, we find him reading; and looking over his shoulder, see that he is occupied with our own good Isaiah, and that his attention is directed to what we designate as the fifty-third chapter and sixth verse: "All we like sheep have gone astray." And when he takes up his pen to write to the churches, how readily and naturally do the words glide from him: " Ye were as sheep going astray." We need not suppose that Peter, writing this, was unmindful of the sad facts of his own early history, when he went astray denying the Lord that was about to lay down his life for him.
The knowledge that the Christian has of the natures of men is not so much insight as experience. Men resent the description he gives of the heart of man; but they should consider that he is relating what he has seen in his own heart, being taught of God that heart answereth to heart. He is no misanthropist, expressing his disgust at the treatment he has received from man, but a philanthropist, telling the result of certain experiments to which his own heart has been subjected.
Men desire independence. They wish to be let alone. They prefer to choose their own paths. They scorn the suggestion that a shepherd is necessary to them. Yet there is something occurring every parsing hour to show them their need of a superior being to guide them; one who can see the end from the beginning; who knows the qualities and tendencies of all things; who looks upon dangers and losses before they arise and makes provision for them; who can tear in pieces the lion and the bear; can furnish a shelter from the storm, a shadow from the heat. At every moment evil in some form starts up, saying, " You are my prey; you are wandering in this world without God; you have not this mark upon your forehead." Nevertheless, men insist upon running the gauntlet of all the ills that line the pathway of life, until, all hacked to pieces, they sink into their final place of unrest and misery. Happy are they, alas how few, who perceive the forlornness of a life without God, and allow themselves to be found of the good Shepherd and brought back to his little flock and to its glorious destinies!