Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray with Me”.
Of all the COVID-19 inspired vocabulary–like social distancing, flatten the curve, COVIDiot, doomscrolling, and others–my favorite is probably “sheeple”, a portmanteau of the words “sheep” and “people”.
The word “sheeple” is used by self-confident, self-righteous conspiracy theorists to point out how docile and easily influenced the rest of us are, because we believe lies about COVID-19, propagated by the Deep State and Big Pharma and the Lamestream media and Bill Gates. Those who are not sheeple flock to right-wing media and social media they believe are free from corrupting motives like profit and audience size and corporate attachments. They graze on sources of information they think are courageous and objective purveyors of truth, who see and denounce the hoaxes we sheeple graze on.
Psalm 100, which we look at today, says:
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who has made us and we are his.
We are his people and the sheep of his pasture (v. 2).
When I was a child, my mother taught my older brother Psalm 23, the shepherd psalm, and she taught me Psalm 100, the thanksgiving psalm. Each night at bedtime, my brother would quote Psalm 23 and I would quote Psalm 100. Then mother turned out the light, and we would drift off to sleep confident that God cared for his little sheep.
Sheep, that is, not sheeple. Because the Biblical image of people as sheep is based in truth and reality, not in pandemic denial or conspiracy theories. My childhood version of the psalm said,
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who has made us and not we ourselves.
It is comforting to remember that we are part of God’s creation. We are not random products of evolution. We are not self-creating, self-defining beings. We are creatures, made and watched over by a creator, who cares for us like a shepherd tending his sheep.
Lord, we pray some of the phrases of this thanksgiving psalm.
We worship you with gladness, we come before you with joyful songs (v. 2) because you are creator and shepherd. You made us. You breathed into us the breath of life. Christ breathed on his us and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). You are the breath that breathes in us, the spirit that lives in us, the shepherd who leads us, the God who provides for us in good times and bad.
We enter your gates with thanksgiving and your courts with praise. Like a lover coming home to her beloved, like a sheep coming home to the fold, we step from our profane world into the sacred space of your temple. You are our true home, our lasting abode, our heart’s desire.
We seek you and love you, not as docile unthinking sheeple, but as humans made in your image, as creatures who need the care of a shepherd, as subjects who honori a wise and good king. Watch over us forever in goodness and love, protect and guide us in your faithfulness, speak to us and lead us to your home forever.
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.