Summary: Sometimes the way God loves us seems crazy

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The Lunatic Shepherd

John 10:1-21

Cascades Fellowship CRC, JX MI

April 20, 2008

Creation, Fall, Redemption, Consummation

I hate to do this to you but I am going to use yet another illustration drawn from one of the Star Trek series – this time from Voyager. The back story to Voyager isn’t really important, so if you want to know more about that, talk to me after the service. What is important is that the crew of Voyager runs across what is known as a generational spacecraft – that’s a ship built to have families onboard who grow up on the ship and assume positions of responsibility on the ship. Typically these types of ships have deep space travel as their mission – travel that will take several generations to complete.

In the case of this particular ship, they were interstellar nomads. So they weren’t going anywhere in particular, they simply traveled through space, one generation after the next. Their ship, however, was beginning to show its age so Voyager tried to help. As you might expect with such a setup, one of those romantic situations arise where two people from completely different cultures – in this case, different species - seem made for each other and in the crucible of compressed time fall quickly in love.

The catch is that the nomadic species has a unique bio-chemical characteristic that imprints them irrevocably on the psyche of the other that bonds them for life – imprinted couples literally become addicted to one another. Young Ensign Kim is the one who falls in love and when the two ships part ways, he begins to experience what amounts to withdrawal symptoms.

Now, let’s remember – this is the 24th, 25th, 26th century, somewhere in there; 400-600 years in the future, so these people are smarter than we are and have figured out all the chemical processes of the human body and how to control them. So the doctor, seeing his shipmate in physical distress brought on by the emotional, mental and physical trauma of being separated from his bonded soul-mate, offers Ensign Kim a remedy – a way to deal with the love addiction painlessly until his soul and mind have the opportunity to grow a scar over the wound caused by the separation.

Ensign Kim’s response is both startling and profound. He refuses the treatment – why? The implication the viewer is left with is because Ensign Kim deemed it better to suffer under the tutelage of love lost than to exist without the notion of love. He thought it better to suffer for love than to live without the constant reminders of its absence.

Isn’t that crazy? Yet love sometimes moves us to do some crazy things.

You know, the parallels of this episode of Voyager to the Christian narrative are obvious – God also chooses to suffer for love. Does that mean God is crazy? Well, I guess it depends upon your perspective. Certainly from the perspective of those who opposed Jesus, what he had to say about being a good shepherd seemed kind of loony to them. But did they consider Jesus crazy because – well what Jesus was saying was just plain crazy? Or did they think Jesus was crazy because they didn’t understand?

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