This week on his HBO show Last Week Tonight, comedian John Oliver looked at food waste in America. According to his statistics, America throws out forty percent of the food we produce annually, totaling $165 billion. It’s enough to fill 730 football stadiums.
One of most incongruous, and sad, photos I brought back from the Holy Land when I visited in 2004 was of two Palestinian men, shepherds in an urban land, herding four scruffy looking sheep through the machine gun ringed Kalandria checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem.
Always, always, always think twice before accepting an invitation to one of Herod’s birthday parties. Incest, unjust imprisonment, murder, seductive dancing, potential pedophilia, deception, backstabbing, conniving, severed heads, rivalry, hatred, peer-pressure, crooked politics—our Gospel story has it all.
Today is Good Shepherd Sunday. The readings are among the most well known in the Bible. Everybody knows this stuff, even people who have never darkened the door of a church. Centuries of pious dust have collected around these passages. Their sparkle has been grown dim and they now feel more at home on a Precious Moments angel figurine or a Hallmark card.
I can imagine the companions of Jesus blank faces staring off into the distance eyes red and sore they didn’t sleep last night and those who did had dreams flooded with memories of the fire of the torches and the anxiety of hearing the boots of soldiers marching to take their friend away.