22At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, 23and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. 24So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” 25Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; 26but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. 27My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. 29What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. 30The Father and I are one.”
A teacher gave her class of second graders a lesson on the magnet and what it does. The next day in a written test, she included this question: "My full name has six letters. The first one is M. I pick up things. What am I?"
When the test papers were turned in, the teacher was astonished to find that almost 50 percent of the students answered the question with the word Mother.
Happy Mother’s Day this weekend to all mothers. We give thanks to you for all that you have taught us. We give thanks for our mothers this day, for it is by their actions and their love that many of us are here. I know that is true for me. It is because of the love they have shown for us when we have felt unlovable, that we are able to love others. We love, because somewhere along the line, we were taught how to love.
President Abraham Lincoln said, “I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.”
Let’s look at today’s text…
It happens sooner in one’s life than you think. On the night of October 31st, 1986, my daughter, Bethany was born. After checking on her and Lisa, I made a few phone calls. My parents, even though they were sound asleep when the phone rang, knew my voice. I told them the good news, that finally a female had been born in the Woodward family.
As I headed back to the nursery in the hospital, I heard a baby crying. Immediately I knew that it was Bethany. Even though she was less than two hours old, I knew her voice. From all the other children in the nursery, I knew her voice!
Growing up, we all can probably remember the voice of our mothers calling us home for dinner. We could hear it all the way down the street, even if no one else could hear it. You know the voice. If you took a moment, you can probably still hear that voice in the recesses of your mind.
In today’s Gospel lesson, Jesus speaks to those gathered around him, “My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me.” The sheep know the voice of their shepherd, for it is the shepherd that will protect them, lead them to food and water, and safely guide them. Sheep know the voice of their shepherd so well, that even when grazing with sheep from other folds, they can discern the voice of their shepherd from all others. Do you know the voice of God? Can you hear the Lord call your name? What does God say to you?
Dear God, you call us by name. May we listen and follow. We pray this in the name of Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Amen