It was a bit of a strange sight so it got my attention right away. I was on my way to church, approaching Ralph’s (the one at Crest and Hawthorne). Not many people park on Crest, especially at that time of day. But a crowd had gathered. I saw several cell phones snapping pictures. What could this be all about? An accident? Celebrity? I didn’t have time to think it through, so I never guessed it correctly. But remember, it is spring in PV.
What was it? Goats. Yes, folks. Goats. Like we’ve never seen goats before? We need to park and snaps pictures of goats? I get we do. Well, it is SoCal and Palos Verdes, so they aren’t that common. I haven’t even seen too many in my lifetime. But a bunch of goats penned into a small area is really photo-worthy? I could understand it if there were some young families taking a peek, but these were all seniors — definitely older than me, that’s for sure.
One of the rituals of spring around here is the hiring of goats to eat up the foliage which winter rains have brought. And it was that canyon’s turn. Now, the goats weren’t in the canyon yet, just in a pen waiting to be set loose. But the sight was so unusual that a small crowd had gathered.
Hey, maybe we ought to be more goat-like as a church? I mean we, too, want to gather a crowd. Right? In a couple of weeks, we will be in the Sermon on Mount in Matthew — and I’ll be on the Mount of the Beatitudes in Israel… and how did Jesus gather that crowd? I’m sure there were lots of ways, miracles and compassion and care for people. But Jesus also told us in the Upper Room how to gather a crowd. But His way is not so simple or easy. He said that the way to stand out in the world was to demonstrate clearly that we love one another. It seems a loving and unified group of believers would draw a crowd.
We don’t need goats. We need to love. We need to fall more in love with Jesus. I think we underestimate the power of our relationships with one another. There is so much in our world which divides, let us be an oasis of grace. And love.
I’m not saying we aren’t unified. But I am saying is that to draw a crowd is going to be dependent on how we walk with God and reflect that walk in our personal relationships. Our unity ought to be drawing a much bigger crowd than a bunch of goats along the side of the road. Even a road in PV in the spring. Genuine unity is stranger than a herd of goats in our modern world. We don’t see many goats, but how much true unity do we really see as well?
Not much. We’d better work to maintain it around here. Everything will stand or fall depending on if we can get this love thing right. By the way, have I told you lately that I really do love you. I do.