What happened next? The shepherds
We are told that after they had seen Mary’s child laid in a manger the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
But what might have happened next? John Rackley imagines a conversation between shepherds the next morning.
I told you to let me sleep. All that running across the hills isn’t good for me at my age.
Well I don’t know how you could sleep after what we had seen. Angels. Mysterious voices. A baby on a manger. It was wonderful.
I know, pass the water I’m as dry as dry. But what now? What does it all mean? It’s a miracle to me the sheep are still here. They could have been half way to Jerusalem with all that noise and fuss. I expect we’ll have some still-borns later this season.
We’ll deal with that when it happens. You’re right, what now?
We could ask the rabbi.
Him! He would take so long to work it out the Messiah would be with us. In any case that’s what it all meant. The time of waiting is over; the exile is finishing. The Land is going to be ours again. No more working for others. No more stewards lining their pockets whilst the bosses are all down at Caesarea Maritima with the Romans. People didn’t need convincing last night. Once we told them what the angel said the party started.
Yes, but that was last night. You know what people are like. Last night’s party is today’s hangover. Can we really believe it all? After all it’s only a baby.
The conversation is interrupted by a surge of movement among the flock. They sheep had been made nervous by yet more travellers tramping by on their way to Bethlehem. The Roman census had changed everything. Quiet pastures were now home for anyone who couldn’t stay with relatives in the town.
The two shepherds watch their flocks. They aren’t comfortable with so many strangers near at hand.
But it’s not just the safety of their flocks that concerns them.
People on the move! I don’t like it. It’s just the Romans exercising their muscles. They are just telling us who is in charge. It’s been like it for centuries. We’ve always been Exodus people; never settled, always hoping for something better.
Well, maybe it’s different this time. Maybe that’s what the song of the heavenly sky-larks really means. No more wandering. No more bowing to earthly powers. The Lord is King!
John writes about this meditation and adds some suggestions for further reflection and prayer in his blog: www.windingquest.wordpress.com