Cold Winter, Hungry Sheep

Last month, when it first snowed, I went out at dawn to see it all before it turned to slush. As I went up the hill by Kay Field, a small flock of sheep came running up to me. They assumed I was a farm-hand, come to feed them. They were friendly, sniffing my waterproofs for signs of food. Naturally, I had nothing to give them. I walked away, only to pause in order to share some photos, and their optimism was instantly renewed: they charged over a second time, their expectations unabated.  

The denizens of the next field were less enthusiastic. While still watching me closely, none made the effort to approach.

We are like sheep in more ways than one. How quick we are to seek spiritual food from anyone and anything. The day before, I passed premises in the town whose sign described it as ‘a healing sanctuary’. There was even a wooden cross stuck above the gate. I looked it up when I returned home, curious about what it did. As well as Indian head and Thai foot massages (which sound marvellous), there was also tarot readings, reiki crystals and chakra balancing, which don’t sound quite as good. Yet there’s demand for all of this. In post-Christian Britain, with our angry atheism and empty secularism, anyone offering anything vaguely spiritual is thronged by seekers. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the only thing we need, yet how quick we are to approach strangers and hirelings for food.  

As the nation's spiritual temperature decreases, it is vital we continue feeding on the finest fare. Many churches now are about entertaining the goats rather than feeding the sheep; jokes, gimmicks and platitudes reign supreme. Many others do nothing but moralise, shying from the cross of Calvary and side-stepping the gospel of truth. Alternatively, pulpits are occupied by sound, saved people, but they're too lazy and indolent to prepare for their folk the best cuisine. Walking to chapel in the snow a few Sundays ago, I came across a sheep feasting on the contents of a red box of animal feed. There wasn't a lot of it, but it must have been good, for the sheep braved my proximity to keep on scoffing. 

As good churches are few, and sound pulpits rare, find what good spiritual food you can, and eat it till you're full. Read God's word, meditate on His precepts, delight in His law. 

And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Acts 2:42