Weekly Church Service – Fourth Sunday After Pentecost: 28 June 2020


Sentence

The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.     Romans 6:23 


Collect

O God,

who for our redemption gave your only-begotten

Son to suffer death upon a cross,

and by his glorious resurrection

delivered us from the power of the enemy:

grant us so to die daily to sin

that we may evermore live with him

in the joy of his resurrection;

through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Readings

  • Genesis 22:1-14
  • Psalm 13
  • Romans 6:12-23
  • Matthew 10:40-42

next week

  • Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67
  • Psalm 45:10-17
  • Romans 7:14-25
  • Matthew 11:15-30

A Thought to Ponder

Pentecost 4 Matthew 10:40-42

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me . . . and whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me . . .
“And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because the little one is a disciple – amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”

Today’s Gospel is the conclusion of Matthew’s collection of Jesus’ wisdom sayings to those who will go forth on mission to proclaim his Gospel – Jesus speaks of the sacrifice demanded of his disciples and the suffering they will endure for their prophetic proclamation of the Kingdom of God. In today’s pericope, Jesus clearly is not attacking family life; he is warning his disciples of the conflict and misunderstanding they will experience for their proclaiming the word. To be an authentic disciple of Jesus means embracing the suffering, humility, pain and selflessness of the cross; to be an authentic disciple of Jesus means taking on the often unpopular role of prophet for the sake of the kingdom; to be an authentic disciple of Jesus means welcoming and supporting other disciples who do the work of the Gospel.

God calls every one of us to the work of the prophet: to proclaim his presence among his people. Some are called to be witnesses of God’s justice in the midst of profound evil and hatred; others are called to be witnesses of his hope and grace to those in pain and anguish; and many share in the work of the prophet/witness by enabling others to be effective witnesses and ministers of God’s love. The gift of faith opens our spirits to realise and accept our call to be witnesses of God’s love borne on the cross and prophets of the hope of his Son’s resurrection.

The most difficult part of imitating Jesus is the cross and what it stands for: unconditional forgiveness, the total emptying of ourselves of our wants and needs for the sake of another, the spurning of safety and popular convention to do what is right and just.   

To “receive the prophet’s reward” is to seek out every opportunity, to use every talent with which we have been blessed, to devote every resource at our disposal to make the love of God a living reality in every life we touch.

Authentically committed disciples of Jesus possess the vision of faith and determination of hope to use anything — from a cup of cold water to a sign to protect the most helpless of creatures — to make God’s reign of compassion and peace a reality in our time and place.  ©Connections/MediaWorks

Sermon

  •     Pentecost 4

You can read the Pew Sheet here

Pentecost-4-A

Weekly Church Service – Third Sunday After Pentecost: 21 June 2020


Sentence

Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for Jesus’ sake will find it.  Matthew 10:39 


Collect

All-powerful God,Gracious God,

we who were baptised into Christ Jesus

were baptised into his death:

we pray that, as you raised him from death,

so by the power of the Holy Spirit

we may live the new life to your glory,

knowing ourselves to be dead in sin

but alive for you in Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy 

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

Readings

  • Genesis 21:8-21
  • Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17
  • Romans 6:1-11
  • Matthew 10:24-39

next week

  • Genesis 22:1-14
  • Psalm 13
  • Romans 6:12-23
  • Matthew 10:40-42

A Thought to Ponder

Pentecost 3 Matthew 10:24-39

“Fear no one.  Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.  What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.”

In Matthew’s missionary discourse, Jesus instils in his disciples of the need for courage and discernment in their preaching of the Gospel.  The disciple who faithfully proclaims his Gospel can expect to be denounced, ridiculed and abused; but Jesus assures his followers that they have nothing to fear from those who would deprive “the body of life,” for their perseverant and faithful witness to the Gospel will be exalted in the reign of God.

In the Gospels, Christ reveals a God who loves us and cares for us and every “strand” of creation.  Sometimes we are called to be the vehicles of God’s love for those desperate to realize that presence in their lives; sometimes we are the recipients of such blessings of forgiveness and compassion.  The providence of God who has “counted . . . all the hairs of your head” manifests itself in the love of family, the comfort of friends, the support of church and community.  

In today’s Gospel, Jesus calls us beyond our fears and insecurities; he invites us to embrace a spirit of joy and possibility beyond our comfort zone.  Three times in today’s Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples not to be afraid, that we have nothing to fear before God who has proven his love and acceptance of us unreservedly.  Christ calls us in to embrace a vision of hope that is the opposite of fear — hope that matches our uncertainty of the unknown with the certainty of the love of God; hope that can only be found and embraced once we reach beyond our own fears to confront the fears and heal the hurts of others; hope that the Good Fridays of our lives will be transformed into Easter completeness.   

We “disown” Jesus, not only by what we do, but by what we fail to do.  We “deny” Jesus by our silence in the face of injustice, our protecting our own interests at the expense of the common good, our failure to respond to Christ calling us in the cries of the poor, the abused, the desperate and the lost.                                                   © Connections/MediaWorks

Sermon

  •     Pentecost 3

You can read the Pew Sheet here

Pentecost-3-A

Weekly Church Service – Second Sunday After Pentecost: 14 June 2020


Sentence

The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; ask therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.    Matthew 9:37-38


Collect

All-powerful God,

in Jesus Christ you turned death into life,

and defeat into victory:

increase our faith and trust in him,

that we may triumph over evil,

in the strength of the same Jesus Christ our 

Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the 

Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Amen.  

Readings

  • Genesis 18:1-15
  • Psalm 116:1-2, 11-18
  • Romans 5:1-11
  • Matthew 9:35-10:8

next week

  • Genesis 21:8-21
  • Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17
  • Romans 6:1-11
  • Matthew 10:24-39

A Thought to Ponder

Pentecost 2 Matthew 9:35-10:8

Jesus sent out these twelve after instructing them thus, “… As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”

Today’s Gospel serves as a narrative transition from Matthew’s recounting of Jesus’ miracles and works of wonder (chapters 8 and 9) to Jesus’ missionary discourse (chapters 10 and 11).  

The missionary dimension of discipleship is centred in two images: the “sheep without a shepherd” and harvest in need of labourers. Having established his identity as God’s Christ in his work as a healer, Jesus now commissions the Twelve and his Church to heal hearts and souls in a ministry of reconciliation: 

cure the sick” – bring back to God those who are alienated, those who are lost, those who are weak (the Greek word used in the text of today’s Gospel asthenes means “weak”);

raise the dead” – lift up those hopelessly and helplessly dead because of sin, who are blind and deaf to the grace of God, who are entombed by poverty, racism and violence;

cleanse lepers” – bring back the sons and daughters of God who are rejected or estranged from the human family;

drive out demons” – liberate those enslaved by sin and evil.

Jesus’ compassion for the “shepherd-less” calls us to bring to the lost, forgotten and marginalised (those Pope Francis calls those on the “periphery”). Today’s Gospel reaffirms our responsibility as disciples of Jesus to welcome rather than condemn, to lift up rather than judge, to seek reconciliation with those from whom we are estranged or separated for whatever reason.

Every one of us, in our struggle to make sense out of life, seeks absolutes by which to guide our decisions, formulae to determine what is fair and good, yardsticks to judge success and failure. Masters and gurus, saviours and deliverers, parties and movements of every stripe preach to their followers how to secure fortunes but not how to live, how to feel better but not how to cure what afflicts, how to conquer one’s enemies but not how to live lives of justice and peace. Christ the “shepherd” walks with us on our life’s journey through hurt and change and maturity and wholeness to the dwelling place of God.   

The defining mark of discipleship is the willingness and commitment to bring healing to the broken, comfort to the afflicted, hope to the despairing. In his first “organisational meeting” of the Twelve, Jesus commissions them to take on the work of healing, restoring, reconciling. As God humbled himself to become one of us and be part of our lives, we are called to the same humility in order to bring the compassion and forgiveness of God to the poor, the needy, the helplessly and hopelessly “dead,” the alienated, the rejected and the abused.  © Connections/MediaWorks

Sermon

  •     Pentecost 2

You can read the Pew Sheet here

Pentecost-2-A-1

Weekly Church Service – Trinity Sunday: 7 June 2020


Sentence

Proclaim the Name: ’The Lord, the Lord, a God who is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.’ Exodus 34:6


Collect

Almighty and everlasting God,

you have given to us your servants

grace by the confession of a true faith

to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity,

and in the power of the divine majesty

to worship the Unity:

keep us steadfast in this faith,

and evermore defend us from all adversities,

for you live and reign, one God, for ever and

ever. Amen.  

Readings

  • Exodus 34:1-8
  • Song of the Three
  • 2 Cor 13:11-13
  • Matthew 28:16-20

next week

  • Genesis 18:1-15
  • Psalm 116:1-2, 11-18
  • Romans 5:1-11
  • Matthew 9:35-10:8

A Thought to Ponder

Trinity Sunday John 3:16-18

“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son . . . for God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world might be saved through him.”  John 3:16-18

As Ordinary Time resumes, two “solemnities of the Lord” are celebrated on the next two Sundays. Today’s celebration of the Trinity originated in France in the eighth century and was adopted by the universal Church in 1334. The solemnity focuses on the essence of our faith: the revelation of God as Creator, God’s re-creation of humankind in Jesus the Redeemer, the fullness of the love of God poured out on us in the Sustainer Spirit.

Today’s periscope omits the context of this Gospel. Nicodemus, a Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin, comes under the cover of darkness to meet the remarkable rabbi he has heard so much about. In their exchange (today’s Gospel), Jesus speaks of the need to be reborn “from above” and of the great love of God who gives the world his own Son, not to condemn humankind but to save it.

Today we celebrate the essence of our faith manifested in our lives: the loving providence of the Creator who continually invites us back to him; the selfless servanthood of the Redeemer who “emptied” himself to become like us in order that we might become like him; the joyful love of the Spirit that is the unique unity of the Father and Son.

As revealed to us by Jesus, our God is a God not of endings but beginnings; a God who does not demand the payment of debts but who constantly offers unconditional and unlimited chances to begin again; a God who does not take satisfaction in our failures but rejoices in lifting us up from our brokenness, despair and estrangement from him and from one another.  

In today’s Gospel, Jesus challenges Nicodemus to move beyond old, incomplete and “childlike” images of God in order to grow toward a more complete, “adult” faith that recognises the God who works and moves from his Spirit of unfathomable love; the God who constantly takes the initiative to be reconciled with us, despite our failings; the God who is not removed from his creation but constantly present in every act of love and compassion and forgiveness.                     © Connections/MediaWorks

Sermon

  •     Trinity Sunday

You can read the Pew Sheet here

Trinity-Sunday-A

Weekly Church Service – Day of Pentecost: 31 May 2020


Sentence

‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me,’ says the Lord;’ and let the one who believes in me drink. For out of your heart shall flow rivers of living water.’   John 7:38


Collect

Almighty God,

at the feast of Pentecost 

you sent your Holy Spirit to the disciples,

filling them with joy and boldness to preach

the gospel: empower us with that same Spirit

to witness to your redeeming love 

and draw all people to you;

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy

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

Readings

  • Acts 2:1-21
  • Psalm 104:26-36
  • 1 Cor 12:1-13
  • John 20:19-23

next week

  • Exodus 34:1-8
  • Song of Three
  • 2 Cor 13:11-13
  • Matthew 28:16-20

A Thought to Ponder

Day of Pentecost John 20:19-23

Jesus breathed on them and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit . . .”

Pentecost was the Jewish festival of the harvest (also called the Feast of Weeks), celebrated 50 days after Passover, when the first fruits of the corn harvest were offered to the Lord.  A feast of pilgrimage (hence the presence in Jerusalem of so many “devout Jews of every nation”), Pentecost also commemorated Moses’ receiving the Law on Mount Sinai.  For the new Israel, Pentecost becomes the celebration of the Spirit of God’s compassion, peace and forgiveness – the Spirit that transcends the Law and becomes the point of departure for the young Church’s universal mission (the planting of a new harvest?).

In his Acts of the Apostles (Reading 1), Luke invokes the First Testament images of wind and fire in his account of the new Church’s Pentecost:  God frequently revealed his presence in fire (the pillar of fire in the Sinai) and in wind (the wind that sweeps over the earth to make the waters of the Great Flood subside).  The Hebrew word for spirit, ruah, and the Greek word pneuma also refer to the movement of air, not only as wind, but also of life-giving breath (as in God’s creation of man in Genesis 2 and the revivification of the dry bones in Ezekiel 37).  Through his life-giving “breath,” the Lord begins the era of the new Israel on Pentecost.

Today’s Gospel of the first appearance of the Risen Jesus before his ten disciples (remember Thomas is not present) on Easter night is John’s version of the Pentecost event.  In “breathing” the Holy Spirit upon them, Jesus imitates God’s act of creation in Genesis.  Just as Adam’s life came from God, so the disciples’ new life of the Spirit comes from Jesus.  In the Resurrection, the Spirit replaces their sense of self-centred fear and confusion with the “peace” of understanding, enthusiasm and joy and shatters all barriers among them to make of them a community of hope and forgiveness.  By Christ’s sending them forth, the disciples become apostles – “those sent.”

The feast of Pentecost celebrates the unseen, immeasurable presence of God in our lives and in our Church – the ruah that animates us to do the work of the Gospel of the Risen One, the ruah that makes God’s will our will, the ruah of God living in us and transforming us so that we might bring his life and love to our broken world.  God “breathes” his Spirit into our souls that we may live in his life and love; God ignites the “fire” of his Spirit within our hearts and minds that we may seek God in all things in order to realize the coming of his reign.

Today we celebrate the gift of God’s Spirit: the Spirit that enables us to love as selflessly and as totally as God loved us enough to become one of us, to die for us and to rise for us; the Spirit that takes us beyond empty legalisms and static measurements of “mine” and “yours” to create a community of compassion, reconciliation and justice centred in “us”; the Spirit that enables us to re-create our world in the peace and mercy of God.

In Jesus’ “breathing” upon them the new life of the Spirit, the community of the Resurrection – the Church – takes flight.  That same Spirit continues to “blow” through today’s Church to give life and direction to our mission and ministry to preach the Gospel to every nation, to proclaim the forgiveness and reconciliation in God’s name, to baptize all humanity into the life of Jesus’ Resurrection.

The Spirit of God enables the Eleven – and us – to do things they could not do their own: to understand the “truth” of God’s great love for his people that is embodied in the Risen Christ, and then to boldly proclaim the Gospel of Christ.  The Spirit empowers us with the grace to do the difficult work of Gospel justice, forgiveness and compassion.

The miracle of Pentecost (Acts 2) is the Spirit’s overcoming the barriers of language and perception to open not only the minds of the Apostles’ hearers but their hearts as well to understanding and embracing the Word of God. © Connections/MediaWorks

Sermon

  •     Day of Pentecost

You can read the Pew Sheet here

Pentecost-A

Weekly Church Service – Seventh Sunday of Easter: 24 May 2020


Sentence

This is eternal life, that we may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. John 17:3


Collect

O God,

whose Son, Jesus, prayed for his disciples,

to proclaim the coming of your kingdom:

by your Holy Spirit,

hold the Church in unity,

and keep it faithful to your word,

so that, breaking bread together,

we may be one with Christ in faith and love

and service, now and for ever. Amen.  

Readings

  • Acts 1:6-14
  • Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35
  • 1 Peter 5
  • John 17:1-11

next week

  • Acts 2:1-21
  • Psalm 104:26-36
  • 1 Cor 12:1-13
  • John 20:19-23

A Thought to Ponder

Easter 7 John 17:1-11

“Father, I pray for those you have given me, because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them.”

Today’s reading from John’s Gospel is the climax of the Last Supper discourse: the “high priestly prayer” of Jesus.  As his “hour” of glory approaches, Jesus prays to the Father for the unity of present and future disciples, a union rooted in the love of the Father and the Son.

In the first part of his prayer, Jesus prays that his disciples will be worthy and effective witnesses of the Gospel he has entrusted to them.  When Jesus left this world, he had little reason to hope.  He seemed to have achieved so little and to have won so few. And the Twelve – soon to be the Eleven – to whom he has entrusted his new Church are certainly not among the most capable of leaders or the most dynamic of preachers. Yet with so small a beginning, Jesus changed the world. As Jesus returns to the Father, he leaves a portion of the Father’s glory behind: the community of faith.

Jesus’ priestly prayer is a prayer not only for his followers at table with him then but also for us at this table: that we may be united and consecrated in the truth Jesus has revealed and that we may reveal to the world the love and care of the Father for all of the human family.

The Church as a community of prayer is at the heart of today’s readings: prayer that is, first and foremost, an attitude of trust and acceptance of God’s presence in the community, an attitude that is not occasional but constant and continuing, an attitude not limited to asking for something but of thanksgiving for what is and for what has been. The prayer of Jesus at the Last Supper and the prayer of the company of disciples seek not God’s acquiescence to their will but that God’s will might be done effectively through them.

In baptism, the Gospel first preached by Jesus and then by the Eleven is passed on to us – we became witnesses of the great Easter event and accepted responsibility for telling our children and people of our time and place the good news of the empty tomb. Not in words alone but in our attitude of joy, our work for reconciliation among all, our commitment to what is right and just, our simplest acts of generosity and compassion, do we witness the Father’s name and presence to the generations who follow us.                                                              © Connections/MediaWorks

Sermon

  •     Easter 7

You can read the Pew Sheet here

Easter-7A

Weekly Church Service – Sixth Sunday of Easter: 17 May 2020


Sentence

‘Those who love me will keep my word.’ Jesus promises, ‘and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.’ John 14:23


Collect

O God,

you have prepared for those who love you

joys beyond our understanding:

pour into our hearts such love for you,

that, loving you above all else,

we may obtain your promises

that exceed all we can desire;

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you and the 

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

Readings

  • Acts 17:22-31
  • Psalm 66:7-19
  • 1 Peter 3:8-22
  • John 14:15-21

next week

  • Acts 1:6-14
  • Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35
  • 1 Peter 5
  • John 17:1-11

A Thought to Ponder

Easter 6 John 14:15-21

If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows him. But you will know him, because he remains with you, and will be in you.”

In legal terminology, an advocate defends the accused on trial. For the writer of the Fourth Gospel, Christ is the first “Advocate,” who comes to liberate humanity from the slavery of sin. The second “Advocate,” promised by Jesus in today’s Gospel, is the Spirit of truth, the Church’s living, creative memory in which the mystery of God’s love, revealed by and in Christ, lives for all time.

The Spirit of truth, “whom the world cannot accept,” illuminates our vision and opens our hearts to discern the will and wisdom of God. The Spirit/Paraclete “advocates” for what is good, what is right and what is just, despite our scepticism, rejection and blindness to the things of God.

The Risen Christ challenges us, in the gift of the “Spirit of truth,” not to approach truth in terms of profit, power, comfort or convention, but to embrace the truth of God’s justice and compassion present in our world.

Throughout his Gospel, the writer of John’s Gospel never allows love, as taught by Jesus, to remain at the level of sentiment or emotion. Its expression is always highly moral and is revealed in obedience to the will of the Father. To love as Jesus loved – in total and selfless obedience, without conditions and without expectation of that love ever being returned – is the difficult love that Jesus expects of those who claim to be his disciples.The Spirit of truth is the creative, living memory of the Church. Through that “living memory,” the Church enters into the mystery of Christ himself. Jesus, the wise Rabbi, the compassionate Healer, the Friend of rich and poor and saint and sinner, the obedient and humble Servant of God, is a living presence among us to give us hope, strength and light as we struggle to balance and direct our lives until he calls us to the new life of his Resurrection.                                    © Connections/MediaWorks

Sermon

  •     Easter 6

You can read the Pew Sheet here

Easter-6-A

Weekly Church Service – Fifth Sunday of Easter: 10 May 2020


Sentence

‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life,’ says the Lord. ‘No one comes to the Father except through me.’ John 14:6                                                                                   


Collect

Everliving God,

whose Son Jesus Christ is the way, 

the truth, and the life:

give us grace to love one another,

to follow in the way of his commandments,

and to share his risen life;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy

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

Readings

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

next week

  • Acts 17:22-31
  • Psalm 66:7-19
  • 1 Peter 3:8-22
  • John 14:15-21

A Thought to Ponder

Easter 5 John 14:1-14

“Whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater than these, because I am going to the Father.”

Today’s Gospel takes place at the Last Supper. John’s account of that night is the longest in the Gospels – five chapters in length (but with no account of the institution of the Eucharist). The evangelist uses a literary device common in Scripture: A leader (Moses, Joshua, David, Tobit) gathers his own (family, friends, disciples) to announce his imminent departure, offer advice and insight into the future and give final instructions.

At the time of the writing the Fourth Gospel, Christians are being harassed by both the Jews and the Romans. Proclaiming the Crucified Jesus as the Messiah is blasphemy to Judaism, while accusing the Romans of “judicial murder” in the death of Jesus threatens the new faith’s chances of survival as a “lawful religion” tolerated by their Roman occupiers.

The dominant themes here are consolation and encouragement: Be faithful, remember and live what I have taught you, for better days are ahead for you.Christ – the Way to God, the Truth of God and Life incarnate of God – will return for the faithful “who do the works that I do.”

The Jesus of the Gospel does not only show us the way – his life of humble and generous servanthood is the way; he not just philosophises about a concept of truth – he is the perfect revelation of the truth about a God of enduring and unlimited love for his people; he is not just a preacher of futuristic promises – he has been raised up by God to a state of existence in God to which he invites all of us. In embracing the Spirit of his Gospel and living the hope of his Word, we encounter, in Christ, God himself.

Regardless of the career path we choose – doctor, labourer, bank teller, teacher, parent or priest – if we truly consider ourselves disciples of the Risen Jesus, we are called “to do the work I do.” In our homes, workplaces, city halls and playgrounds, we are called to bring the miracle of Easter life: the reconciliation, justice and peace of the Risen One in whom God has revealed himself to all of humanity.

Seldom do we think of death as a return home, but today’s Gospel image of the “house with many dwelling places” helps us to realise we were created for a life beyond this one – we were created by God for life in and with him.

As Christians, we live in the eternal hope of one day living in God’s dwelling place – but that “place” of hope and compassion and peace exists here and now in the places we create where the poor and sick are cared for, the fallen are lifted up, and lost and rejected are sought after and brought home.  © Connections/MediaWorks

Sermon

  •     Easter 5

You can read the Pew Sheet here

Easter-5-A

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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