When my children were younger we used attend a play session where the (rather enthusiastic and very politically correct) play leader used to sing Baa Baa Green Sheep with them. I remember this leading to many a discussion among the parents there with their children. Hard as it is to believe that something so trivial really could cause so much dissension in the ranks, it did and the parents split into two very distinctive camps; those that thought the whole thing silly and those that approved another version.
The first camp could see no reason at all for the changing of the words and generally thought the whole thing was a wacky idea. ‘There’s no such thing as a green sheep’ they would mutter as the play leader sang.
The second camp preferred another alternative version that was prominent at the time; Baa Baa Woolly Sheep. Although I have to confess here that hearing the words ‘Baa Baa Woolly Sheep, have you any wool?’ really made me want to shout, ‘Yes of course I have otherwise how could I be a woolly sheep!’ I wanted to, but didn’t, I restrained myself.
All in all, if we have to change the words, then I think I prefer green sheep. It works when you use it in other contexts too, how much better to be be the green sheep of the family, you’re not just in the wrong family you are completely individual. Well either that or you have some dreadful disease but let’s not go there.
Two weeks ago I started ordination training at Vicar Skool and throughout those two weeks I have had this growing realisation that I am a green sheep here. It’s not just that I seem to be doing a different course to everyone else (don’t ask!), or that I’m a (Shock!Horror!)single parent and people are really struggling to know which pigeon hole to put me into, or that I seem to be the only one that believes morning caffeine is needed alongside morning prayer. It’s more a growing feeling that I am different to everyone else. I am a green sheep.
But then, perhaps everyone is feeling like this, maybe this is what it’s all about. As Christians we are called and we desire to be holy, to be ‘set-apart’. As a priest there will be no hiding from this, they tend to be easily distinguishable, and I will be perceived to be different even if the reality isn’t quite so! I am called to be one of God’s green sheep; somewhat different, a tad wacky, and easily found if I accidentally wander off!