Max came home late from school on Monday afternoon. From the way he slammed the door and huffed past his mom, who was sitting at the kitchen table, it was clear that he was upset about something.
“What’s wrong, Max?” his mom called out.
But Max didn’t answer. She could hear him fumbling with his x-box. Whenever he played Wrestlemania she knew that he wanted to be left alone. So she went back to reading the newspaper at the kitchen table.
A few minutes later, Max’s sister Lisa came home.
“Have you seen Max?” asked Lisa.
“He’s in his room playing video games,” replied her mom, “Did anything happen at school today, Max looked upset when he came in.”
“Max was in a fight,” Lisa said. She didn’t want to tell on her brother, but she didn’t want to lie to her mom, either. “A couple boys were bugging him about something, but I don’t know what. So, after school they went behind the dumpster beside the 7-11 and started to fight.”
Her mom was shocked and angry that Max would get into a fight. She thought he knew better.
She knocked on Max’s door.
She opened the door. Max had his headphones on. His mom opened the two sides covering the ears. Max jumped.
“Max, why didn’t you tell me you were in a fight today.”
Max rolled his eyes.
“Did your dad and I tell you that fighting is no way to solve your problems?”
Max just sat, his back hunched over.
“I expect better from you,” his mom scolded.
“Those boys were bugging me!” Max blurted out.
“Why were they bugging you?”
“They called me God-boy.”
“Why would they call you that?”
“They saw me coming out of church yesterday. Jamie kept on saying that I was a loser and a nerd because only losers and nerds go to church.” Max said angrily. “He said that it was silly to believe in God. So, I punched him.”
Max’s mom sat beside him. No sure what to say. She was angry that Max punched another boy, but she felt badly for him that another boy called him names for going to church.
“Why do we go to church?” Max asked.
“We go because we love God,” his mom replied.
“But how do we know God? We can’t see God. We don’t know what God looks like. How can we say we love God?” asked Max
“We know God because we know Jesus,” her mom explained. “Jesus came to show us who God is. Do you remember in Sunday’s bible reading? Jesus called himself “the gate” or “the door” to God. Jesus also called himself a “shepherd.” That’s true. Jesus leads us to God by showing us what God is like.”
“So, whatever Jesus is like, God is like,” said Max, “And God is like a shepherd to looks after sheep. And we’re sheep.”
“Yes,” said his mom. “Now, do you promise not to do any more fighting?”
“I promise,” said Max.
Then they said a prayer like this as we do now: Dear God, thank you for Jesus. Thank you that he is the Shepherd who never stops looking after his sheep. Amen.