1 Peter 2:19-25
I am wistful about the passage from Acts, even though I know that it was a membership brochure. I cannot help but think how our world might be different if we shared a little more and were scared a little less.
What is it about us that keeps us from trusting and doing something new?
Which leads me to thinking about sheep. Silly, stupid sheep. Or at least I’d always thought…. Is it possible that sheep have gotten a bad rap?
A few (or seven) years ago, National Public Radio reported this story:
“…the lowly sheep may have gotten a bad rap. That’s the conclusion of a new study on sheep behavior by British scientists, who say the easily herded creatures may be smarter than originally thought.
A study published in the Journal Nature describes research at the Babraham Institute in Cambridge, southern England. In the research project, sheep were shown pictures of other sheep and rewarded with food if they moved toward a selected image.
As it turns out, the sheep quickly learned to recognize the face that produced a reward, and discriminated between that face and other sheep faces that didn’t produce a reward. The research showed that sheep can get it right eight out of 10 times — and the research showed the sheep remember faces for an extended period of time. Some sheep could remember up to 50 images for two years.The study concluded that, like humans, sheep have special systems in the brain to discern between faces that are very similar in appearance. The results also suggest that sheep have remarkably good memory systems and are extremely good at recognizing faces. Both are signs of higher intelligence, says Dr. Keith Kendrick, one of the authors of the study.Kendrick says the reason sheep may have a reputation for little intelligence is that they seem to be scared of just about everything. ‘Any animal, including humans, once they are scared, they don’t tend to show signs of intelligent behavior,’ Kendrick told Reuters.”
National Public Radio. All Things Considered. November 7, 2001
Submission, surrender is not a popular thing to talk about. Because when we think about submission and surrender, it is usually in terms of an unhealthy relationship. The spouse who beats the one they have pledged to love. The boss who ridicules an employee. The cult leader who leads followers to spiritual imprisonment rather than freedom. Submission is a kind of surrender, and Americans are not typically thought of as surrender or submission prone.
I believe God invites us to a different kind of submission. One that is not chosen for us, but one that we are invited to choose.
J. Heinrich Arnold, the founder of the Bruderhof Community, writes this about submission:
So. This is what I’ve been contemplating. How about you?