Scotland 1996

by DanWolgemuth on June 1, 2018

I had just finished an intense six month project in Folkestone, England with General Electric. As a family, we chose to end our assignment with a trip north into the beautiful west coast of Scotland. Rustic, rough, underdeveloped and breathtaking.

On a blustery July day we stumbled upon a “Sheepdog Contest”. Authentic and poignant, we watched as shepherds used whistles and hand signals to instruct their canine partners. Across a vast field we watched in spellbound amazement as the amazing Border Collies worked precisely and diligently to keep the flock intact as they progressed across the field.

Together. Because separation creates vulnerability, exposure, destruction.

Could it be that this was a part of what Jesus wanted to convey in Luke 15? We are designed to be a part of a flock. Surrounded and defended by the Good Shepherd, but immersed in community. Not devoid of uniqueness, but included and embedded in a congregation.

Jesus doesn’t commend the lost sheep for his autonomy or independence or courage… nor does He reject the rebellious or reckless. He rescues and restores, right back into the flock.

In the most famous of all Christ’s sermons, Jesus instructs His disciples on how they should pray, He starts with a revealing pronoun… “Our”. This is powerful and rich. If there was anyone who could have modified the prayer to say, “My Father” it would have been Jesus, but He didn’t. He flung open the door to family, to body life. To be the Church.

God is “Our Father”. We’re not only children. By design, and for our own good. We’re stronger, safer and more powerful together. Together we reflect the heart of our Creator. The Creator who declared in clear terms that it’s not good for us to be alone. So He designed companionship. Not after the fall, but in the perfection of the Garden.

In fact, in Ephesians 2:10 the Apostle Paul uses the pen of the Holy Spirit to write the following truth:

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (NLT)

We are…

Created anew because sin drove an enormous wedge between us. Created anew to love and sacrifice for each other. Selflessly. The way that Jesus lived and loved.

A collection of colors, and capabilities, and capacity… together as a masterpiece.

A masterpiece that the watching world can’t ignore or explain apart from Jesus. Individual gifting coalescing around a glorious King. We sing, but we don’t solo. A vast choir performs in glorious harmony. And the music we sing from is composed by Christ, on the cross, for His Father. Our Father. As a masterpiece.

The agenda and strategy of the evil one is discord and division. Graceless. Loveless. Joyless lives don’t shine the light on our merciful Father. Instead they blend into the chaos of the culture.


Unity isn’t extra credit. It’s a reflection of authentic Christ following. It shows the depth of our understanding of God’s love. It’s the thermometer of our soul. Tepid and fragmented isn’t what Christ died to deliver.

One lost sheep, delivered from the shoulders of the shepherd into the community of the 99. Now, 100 strong. A flock. A family. A community. The Church.

We were made for community. A mosaic. A masterpiece.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10, ESV)

An agenda of division and destruction versus a picture of vibrant and abundant life.

So that the world will know. So that lost sheep will have a home. So that the one will have 99. Because this is what defines a Good Shepherd.

Our Father.
We are…

Unified by the Gospel. Together in Christ. Nothing less.

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