These days churches are tempted to mimic corporations, and pastors try to become CEOs. But these texts call us to re-imagine our life together as the people of God, and the texts’ images are of sheep and shepherds. In Mark 6 Jesus is pictured as a shepherd-king with Godlike “compassion” as he looks upon the multitude wandering “like sheep without a shepherd.”
The 23rd Psalm has led us in the paths of comfort all the days of our lives. But sometimes we have trouble hearing the things that are closest to us. Psalm 23 was a cherished hymn for the Hebrews. So when we read and sing the psalms as Christians, we are to some degree also in Jewish territory. It is wise to remember the nature of the Jews’ history with God.