The people in an Ohio county were angry with the area’s red foxes because they had eaten some of the people’s domestic chickens and many of the wild quail. So 600 men, women and children formed a circle five miles across, walked through the woods and frightened the foxes out into the open by shouting. Inside of a shrinking circle the foxes ran about in panic, exhausting themselves.
I’ve always been challenged by the lectionary readings for this Sunday. Although both Psalm 23 and John refer to Jesus the Shepherd and us as sheep, I live in New York City, and as far as I can tell, even the Sheep Meadow in Central Park has no sheep. Yet we sing Psalm 23 each year on this Sunday and at countless other times in convalescent homes and at gravesides.
One of my favorite lines in Hamlet is the prince’s reminder to Horatio, who is uncertain what to make of a ghost, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” I’ve spent much of my life among academics, Christian and otherwise, many of whom are skittish about references to mystical moments, prescient dreams, “thin space,” telepathy, visio
Disobedience came hard for a nice girl like me. I was taught to respect authority, which I did, despite bumper stickers urging us to question it. I did my homework, kept to the speed limit and came home on time. I rarely got in trouble, though I admired those who did, like the people who joined picket lines or burned their draft cards.