Friday, March 27, 2009

Sacred Scars

"In ancient Judea, the good shepherd would take the sheep on long journeys through the ravines and the wadis where the steep and narrow slopes keep out the light. Sometimes, the shepherd had no choice but to lead his flock through the wadis. Avalanches, flash-floodings, poor weather conditions, rock-slides, poisonous plants, and predators were perennial dangers the shepherd faced with his flock. Overexposure to the sun could be very dangerous to the well-being of the flock. The shepherd had to be prepared so that none of these things would deter him. He had to know the paths so that the flock would not be swept away in a flood.

...The shepherd had to be ever mindful...where he was leading the flock.
Frequently thick fog would settle in, so the sheep would follow the shepherd by the sound of his voice and shepherd song. The shepherd's voice and presence gave comfort and confidence to the sheep...The well-being and safety of the flock was up to the shepherd. The shepherd's arms, body, and feet were often scarred with the wounds he suffered for his flock while fighting predators who attempted to destroy them (Jewish 23rd/Samuel 111-112)."

Such scars were often a way that a true and faithful shepherd could be identified as such. Healed wounds indicated that the shepherd was willing to make great sacrifices for the well being of his flock and could be trusted in all circumstances.

Just as the faithful shepherd received scars in his arms, feet, and body while defending his flock, our Savior bears witness of his faithful protection through these same tokens. He tells us:

Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.
Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.
Behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet;
be faithful, keep my commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven. Amen (D&C 6:34, 36, 37).