On Tuesday, after meeting friends, Mark and I went for a walk, up Maiden Castle, near Dorchester. 

It’s one of the largest and most complex Iron Age hillforts in Europe – the size of 50 football pitches! 

Near the top, we stopped to admire the view and have a picnic.  But it wasn’t long before we heard the plaintive ‘baaaing’ of a lamb who had obviously got unattached from its mother.  It was bleating loudly, pitifully and desperately.  There were sheep both sides of the fence, but where its mother was remained a mystery.  She didn’t appear and eventually the lamb wandered on along the fence in the desperate search to find her or ANY SHEEP who looked familiar.  We wanted to help, but it was impossible to get close without the lamb running off.  Anyway, we didn’t know if it needed to go through the gate or stay this side of the gate?  It was very sad to see it feeling so abandoned, whether it had been or whether it had got lost due to its own desire to wander off….

Later on, when we were walking around the top, two lambs of different sizes and colouring, careered down one of the slopes, racing each other to their mother.  They were typically lamb like – running, gambolling, jumping – having the time of their lives and diving onto mum when they reached her, literally pounding on her for milk.  One, that looked slightly younger and smaller than the other, still had its tail which was wagging full pelt at the delight of reaching home. 

They obviously had the same mum and they were roughly the same age, but difference in size and colour suggested that they weren’t twins.  I remembered that sometimes, when a ewe has had a lamb that has died, it can become a surrogate mother for another lamb that has been rejected.  How that is achieved is amazing and such a clear Illustration of the life we have been given in Jesus.

The shepherd will take the fleece off the dead lamb and wrap it around the lamb that has been rejected and abandoned.  All the ewe, whose lamb has died recognizes, is that the lamb in front of her, smells like hers, and most often is fully embraced into her maternal care.  She treats it entirely as her own.  The lamb is fed, nurtured, protected and loved.  The shepherd obviously keeps a close eye to make sure all is well too. 

Isn’t that an amazing example of God’s amazing sacrifice for us in Christ?  Christ died that we might be clothed in His righteousness and our sin and rebellion and abandonment is no longer an issue.

For you died ,and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 

Col 3:3

God the Father, doesn’t see all that.  He sees the love of His Son taking our place so that we might be welcomed in as one of the family of God.  Home. 

‘So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,  for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.’

Gal 3:26-28

Kate Strand works for The Greenhouse part-time. She's part of the Leadership Team, heads up The Greenhouse Friends network, and oversees marketing.