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Monday, April 25, 2016

Fifth Sunday of Easter: Good Shepherd Sunday


Sermon 4/16/16

Thanks Russ for the great bulletin design!

It’s “Good Shepherd Sunday” again. Why? Because this is the essence of the Risen Christ? Jesus answer to Peter last week:  the proof of love? Feed my sheep. (Cue: Jorma Kaukonen and the Jefferson Airplane’s "O Good Shepherd, feed my sheep…”)

"Good Shepherd"

If you want to get to heaven
Over on the other shore
Stay out of the way of the blood-stained bandit
Oh good shepherd
Feed my sheep
One for Paul
One for Silas
One for to make my heart rejoice
Can't you hear my lambs acallin
Oh good shepherd
Feed my sheep

If you want to get to heaven
Over on the other shore
Stay out of the way of the long-tongue liar
Oh good shepherd
Feed my sheep

If you want to get to heaven
Over on the other shore
Stay out of the way of the gun shot devil
Oh good shepherd
Feed my sheep



In Jesus' days, shepherds were suspect. They were the only ones who slept outside the gates. They were subject to stop and frisk when they came to town.  The connection back to David was  already nostalgiac at best.

It gives us warm feelings…few of us have any real connection to real sheep. Maybe street fair petting zoos. Wool usually holding sawdust and other detritus…what images serve us?

When we first moved to the city, our apartment building had a lot of school age children. Our porter Kenny would watch the children  on their way to and way back from school…until they were safe.

Jesus is into a q & a with the Pharisees again. Let’s consider that  maybe they’re actually  serious…Are YOU the one? They ask. And his response: I have. I do. I am. Once you are in his hands, you can never be snatched away.

Perhaps the best known passage in the Bible is the 23rd psalm. We used to have a walk around Bible.  Verses we had memorized. Many of us clergy have had the nursing home experience . A room full of resident with Dementia.  Completeley out of it. And then the 23rd Psalm is recited and everyone is joining.in.
We use it for funerals. Memorials. And baptisms.
Why does it comfort us so? Once you’re in his hands? 
What are your memories? Which image comforts you the best?
1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
I want to close with Bobby McFerrin’s Psalm 23. Written for his mother..

The Lord is my Shepard, I have all I need,
She makes me lie down in green meadows,
Beside the still waters, She will lead.

She restores my soul, She rights my wrongs,
She leads me in a path of good things,
And fills my heart with songs.

Even though I walk, through a dark & dreary land,
There is nothing that can shake me,
She has said She won't forsake me,
I'm in her hand.

She sets a table before me, in the presence of my foes,

She anoints my head with oil,
And my cup overflows.

Surely, surely goodness & kindness will follow me,
All the days of my life,
And I will live in her house,
Forever, forever & ever.

Glory be to our Mother, & Daughter,
And to the Holy of Holies,
As it was in the beginning, is now & ever shall be,
World, without end. Amen


PSALM 23:1-6
1The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
2He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
3he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name's sake.
4Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff-
they comfort me.
5You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
my whole life long.

Benediction REVELATION 7:9-17
9After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. 10They cried out in a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!" 11And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12singing, "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen."
13Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, "Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?" 14I said to him, "Sir, you are the one that knows." Then he said to me, "These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15For this reason they are before the throne of God, and worship him day and night within his temple, and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them. 16They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; 17for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."
GOSPEL JOHN 10:22-30
22At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, 23and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. 24So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly." 25Jesus answered, "I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name testify to me; 26but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. 27My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. 29What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father's hand. 30The Father and I are one."


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