One more lesson from Ray Vander Laan’s faith lesson Walking with God in the Desert (see my previous post).
Vander Laan referred to the sheep paths along the hillside as the “straight paths” or the “paths of righteousness.”
I saw Jesus’ “narrow road” in his Sermon on the Mount.
This is a narrow path.
And the hillside is covered with them.
Vander Laan observes that these sheep paths or ruts have been worn into the hillside over countless years of sheep being led across it. All these parallel paths are cut into the hillside, each spaced with just enough room for sheep to feed above or below it as the shepherd leads them along it.
He didn’t make the point, but the video suddenly became 3D and leapt out at me right off the screen, no glasses required.
The sheep are not marching lock step, single file all along the same path with the shepherd out in front (and a master at arms bringing up the rear). Sort of the way I see Sunday School kids being led to and from the sanctuary forming (literally) one long single line. No. The shepherdess leads the sheep all in the same direction, but along parallel paths up and down the entire hillside. And there are “green pastures” enough for all.
How far you want to expand this metaphor is up to you.
How simple and clear cut is single file.
How easy to control.
But the sheep walk all over the hillside on different but parallel paths, each finding what it needs along the way, the tuft here and the tuft there, the one shepherdess walking before them all, the sound of Her voice the only beacon necessary, the only control called for.
Now there’s a picture to ponder a bit.
I’ll never see that “narrow road” in quite the same way…