Weekly Church Service – Fourth Sunday of Easter: 3 May 2020


Sentence

‘I am the good shepherd,’ says the Lord. ‘The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.’   John 10:11


Collect

God of all power,

you called from death our Lord Jesus,

the great shepherd of the sheep:

send us as shepherds to rescue the lost,

to heal the injured,

and to feed one another with understanding;

through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy 

Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Readings

  • Acts 2:42-47
  • Psalm 23
  • 1 Peter 2:1-10
  • John 10:1-10

next week

  • Acts 7:55-60
  • Psalm 31:1-5, 17-18
  • 1 Peter 2:11-25
  • John 14:1-14

A Thought to Ponder

Easter 4 John 10:1-10

“I am the gate for the sheep . . . Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture . . . “I came so that they might have life and have it to more abundantly.”

Chapter 10 of John’s Gospel is Jesus’ “Good Shepherd” discourse. In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus points to two kinds of sheepfolds or corrals: In the community or town sheepfold, the real shepherd was recognised by the gatekeeper and his flock knew his voice and followed; out in the fields, the shepherd slept across the corral opening – his body became the corral gate. Both “gates” are beautiful images of the Redeeming Christ, the “Good Shepherd” who lays down his own life to become the very source of life for his people.

John places these words of Jesus right after the curing of the man born blind (the Gospel read a few weeks ago on the Fourth Sunday of Lent). The evangelist uses these references about shepherds, sheep and sheep gates to underline the miserable job of “shepherding” being done by the Pharisees and the temple authorities as in the case of the blind man. John is writing in the spirit of the prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 34): God will raise up a new shepherd to replace the irresponsible and thieving shepherds who feed themselves at the expense of the flock.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus calls himself the “gate” of humble justice, selfless compassion and ready forgiveness that leads us to the dwelling place of God. In this Easter season, God invites us to pass through the threshold that is his Risen Christ: to leave behind our sadness and fears and doubts in order to come into the safety and warmth of God’s hearth of peace and compassion.

When our spirits ache over what has been lost, when we lose our moral and ethical way, when we feel our footing slip beneath us as we try to navigate life’s twists and turns, Christ’s voice can always be heard above the noise and din our lives if we listen for it with hope, conviction and faith.

Sometimes we look at the Gospel from our modern, sophisticated perspective and quietly dismiss what Jesus says as too unrealistic or too simplistic to deal with the complex problems we must face. But there is no high-tech, comfortable, convenient road to living the Gospel of forgiveness, compassion and justice. “To have life to the full” demands that we journey by way of the “gate” of Gospel wisdom, charity, reconciliation, compassion and justice.                                                          © Connections/MediaWorks

Sermon

  •     Easter 4

You can read the Pew Sheet here

Easter-4-A

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