Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber; but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers…
Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep…
If any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture…
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep
“Without a shepherd, sheep are not a flock”
They dot the landscape en masse, like a springtime field erupting in a profusion of dandelions–an endless sea of white punctuated by a few black dots.
It is said that there are more sheep in Ireland than people and for anyone driving throughout this magnificent island country, such a casual observation seems to ring of pure truth.
These sheep reside inside the city limits, grazing contently on residential lawns.
They are on the rolling hills, the rocky crag topped plains and they oddly inhabit the myriad of tiny islands circling this mystical coast.
They rest in the roads, on the rocks and in the bogs.
They roam contently wandering endlessly this greenest of green island nations.
And yet it remains a bit of a wonder as to how any farmer, rancher, or dare we say shepherd, knows exactly where his or her sheep may be at any given time as it seems as if they aren’t really anywhere but actually are, simply put, everywhere constantly both day and night.
Yet any good farmer, rancher or shepherd, worth his or her salt, possesses what seems to be an innate knowledge or sixth sense when it comes to their animals…
They just know.
Their animals are a part of their very being.
The sheep are plainly put, their livelihood.
The sheep determine if a family can pay their bills or not.
It’s simply their business to know.
It is their life to know.
They know because their sheep are tagged, painted and tracked by dogs–as in sheep dogs
Blue denotes ownership or farm.
Red denotes time of shearing.
And tags denote location.
It is as if these sheep are marked for life.
When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit
My sheep hear my voice: and I know them, and they follow me. And I give them life everlasting; and they shall not perish for ever, and no man shall pluck them out of my hand.