Monday, May 9, 2011

Looking Forward to May 15, 2011 -- 4th Sunday of Easter

This Sunday we will celebrate the Sacrament of Communion.

The Scripture Readings this week are:
  • Psalm 23 (which we will sing to VU 747 -- the Crimond tune)
  • John 10:1-10
  • John 21:15-17

The Sermon title is The Care and Feeding of Sheep

Early Thoughts: Are we sheep? Or are we shepherds? What if we don't really want to be either?

The 4th Sunday of the Easter Season each year (the Easter Season has 7 Sundays, starting on Easter Sunday and leading into Pentecost Sunday) is called "Good Shepherd Sunday" because each year we read Psalm 23 and a portion of John 10 where John is exploring the Shepherd image/metaphor as a way of understanding who Jesus was and is.

The image of a "good shepherd" runs through Scripture -and other literature from the same area and era- as the model of a good leader.  And yet it is a difficult image for many of us today.  If our leader is a good shepherd then what does that make us?  Well sheep of course, and that is not generally seen as a complimentary image.

But this image takes an interesting twist when we pair it with this passage from the end of John.  In this passage the Risen Christ turns Peter into the new shepherd, calling him to feed the sheep.  Theologically it is a small step to suggest that the task of all who seek to follow the Way of Jesus are called to be both sheep and shepherds.  We are called to follow the Good Shepherd but also to care for those around us.

What do shepherds do?  How do they take care of sheep?  And what does that mean we are called to do?  I'll do some checking on the first couple questions and get back to you on Sunday....

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