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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Lectionary Leanings~~Good Shepherd edition

It's the fourth Sunday of Easter; it must be GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY.

No, I'm not really that excited about it...while the readings (found here) are indeed beautiful, like so many of the well-known texts assigned for the  Easter season, it sometimes feels like a real challenge to come up with a fresh perspective on them. 

We begin with another passage from Acts: this week we find Peter, who along with John has been arrested, testifying boldly about Jesus' identity, proclaiming that " 'the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.' "  Our psalm is the oh-so-ever familiar 23rd (and as an aside, which version do you use for this psalm, the beloved KJ or something more contemporary?) In our epistle (perhaps my favorite reading for the day) we are reminded, "Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action." Finally the gospel, Jesus uses the metaphor of the Good Shepherd to illustrate not only his love for humanity but also his willingness to lay down his life for those to whom he has come.

What path will you follow this week, preachers? Are you following the apostles in Acts? Exploring perhaps one of the best-known metaphors for Jesus and his loving care for us? Thinking about what it means to live in a post-resurrection world? Please share your thoughts, inspirations, ponderings, and yes, even your frustrations with us.

To get us going, here is a prayer for Good Shepherd Sunday

Good Shepherd,
Teach us to follow you
          to care for all that are close to us,
                    to protect those who are threatened,
                    to welcome those who are rejected,
                    to forgive those who are burdened by guilt,
                    to heal those who are broken and sick,
                    to share with those who have little or nothing,
          to take the time to really know one another
                    and love as you have loved us.

Good Shepherd,
Teach us to follow you
          to spread compassion to those who are far away,
                    to speak for those who are voiceless,
                    to defend those who are oppressed and abused,
                    to work for justice for those who are exploited,
                    to make peace for those who suffer violence,
          to take the time to recognise our connectedness,
                    and to love as you have loved us.

Good Shepherd,
Teach us to follow you
          and to be faithful to calling you gave us
          to be shepherds in your name.  Amen

(prayer found here)


  1. I'm trying to get serious about the sermon a bit earlier than usual this week, and I'm increasingly drawn to the passage from 1 John, and I serendipitously ran across this piece in Christian Century which really spoke to me.

    I'm also thinking of the 50th anniversary of Wrinkle in Time and the power of love.

    Of course this could all change by the weekend.

  2. I have a bishop's visitation, so I am happily looking forward to a few "extra" hours this week to put towards other projects, and a Saturday with my family. Happy preaching to everyone else though!

  3. I'm avoiding Good Shepherd, but only semi-intentionally. I planned something a bit different for this week already, and then rejoiced when I realized it was Good Shepherd Sunday.

    A couple of a months ago a woman in our congregation shared with me a handwritten essay should found in her house while cleaning out her basement. She's in her early 60s and wrote it when she was about 14 years old, two years before she left her parents behind in Hong Kong to live in the US with other relatives without them. That's unrelated, though. Just a cool story on it's own. Anyway, the essay was "What is Easter?" and really it is a beautiful sermon. I asked her if she would preach it one Sunday in Easter, so this is that week.

    It's probably a little shorter than a usual sermon, so a few weeks ago I started inviting people to submit their own offerings that answer the same question "What is Easter?" or a slightly different question, "Where do I see signs of resurrection life?" One man has a song he wrote which he will sing. Lots of other people are sending pictures which we will put into a slide show as a sort of "visual sermon." I might add in a sermonette sort of thing in their somewhere, but mostly I want everyone's offerings to stand without my words to mess them up. :)

    Hopefully I'll take more time this week to get a preaching plan together for the rest of spring, summer, and maybe move into the fall even. It's been too long since I've been working from a larger plan like that, and I feel disjointed!

  4. Love the idea, Sherev...putting that one down in the book.
    I am not moved by any texts (yet) for this week. I am leaning towards the I John. Thanks for the link, Rev Dr Mom!


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