John 10:1-5, 7, 9-10 (NRSV, abridged)
'Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.'... So again Jesus said to them, 'Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep... I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.'
Do you remember learning about magnetism at school, using a piece of paper, some iron filings and a magnet? Do you remember how the filings responded to the magnet's pull, like living particles, dancing to the music of attraction?
All this came back to me recently when we installed a cat flap, which is operated by a magnet on the cats' collars. Our two cats soon realized that the flap would open when they pushed their noses against it. Suddenly a whole new world of freedom has opened up to them, but they always come home to be fed and loved. They know where they belong.
God's love is a magnet stronger than anything we can imagine, calling us to abundant life in him. Our own hearts, where God is indwelling, are like those iron filings, living particles of love in the core of our being, invited to respond to God's desire to draw us to himself. Like the cats, we know, deep down, where we belong. We know the voice that calls us, the heart that loves us and the one who is our gateway to that love.
O God, draw us to yourself, for we have no home except in you. Give us the trust and courage to enter by the gate you have given us.
[Originaly printed in www.New Daylight