“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty, and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked, and you clothed me, I was sick, and you visited me, I was in prison, and you came to me.’" - Matthew 25:31-46
What an interesting contrast! A “Crown” which suggests regalness, royalty, privilege and reigning over a kingdom of subjects. Now think about the “Shepherd’s Crook” the visual this suggests is the lowly and peasant type working with a flock of animals who may not always heed the shepherd’s direction but need the dedicated faithful shepherd’s protection.
Doesn’t this reflect on us as a society? We revere and follow sometimes heedlessly leaders be they local, statewide, or national without a thought as to what or where we are being led. In that manner we are no better than the “goats” cited in Matthew’s scripture.
So where in society does the “Shepherd’s Crook” apply? Maybe it’s the volunteers packing bags (as I write this) so children at a local elementary school will have food this weekend. Maybe it is manifest in those who volunteer to call folks, visit the shut-in, make and deliver meals for those recovering from illness etc., collecting reading material for the imprisoned, teaching a skill (baking bread and food handling safety) to the recently released from incarceration.
So, reflecting on the above commentaries and if we are to be separated as stated in Matthew’s scripture when the “Son of Man comes in his Glory” who will be deemed the goats? And the sheep? And who will be more likely to be deemed worthy of inheriting the kingdom from the foundation laid with our actions here on earth?
Dear God, Abide with us this Lenten season. Guide us to seek paths that show our concern for others and not just ourselves. Help us seek better lives worthy of inheriting the eternal Kingdom, In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit Amen.