Mark 6: 34
When Jesus disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.
I had a sheep herding dog and she was always watchful when the children were young and running around. I also had a lab who was very watchful but in a different way. The shepherd would mingle with the children or just outside their circle. She would sit and watch the children and even when they jumped over her, she wouldn't budge. That is, unless one of the children ran away from the group. My shepherd would then go with that child, and if she or he was running would gently push the child back toward the others. She herded the children. The lab was more inclined to sit at the edge of the yard and make sure no one outside the family walked by without her noticing, more in a protective way. Both dogs were amazing and very loved by us. The children, now mostly grown, continue to tell stories that include them because they were an integral part of our family.
These passages about Jesus as a shepherd are among my favorites. I wonder of some of us are like the children, playing and barely noticing the shepherd dog among them. To me, that is when we are all following our way that Jesus has planned for us, and he is among us so even if we barely take notice. Some of us are like the child that liked to try to leave the children, to run away to find something or someone else, only to have the shpeherd dog go with them and gently herd she or he back to the other children. To me, that is like when Jesus spke of the shepherd who watched the sheep, even to go after the lost one to bring it safely to the flock.