Happy ReturnsDavid Stawick, May 7, 2017
Part of the Good Shepherd Sunday 2017 series, preached at a Sunday Morning service
Every year on the church calendar, three weeks after Easter, we are encouraged to celebrate “The Good Shepherd” Sunday and read John 10:1-11. I love the passage, but I struggle with the imagery. What’s the modern, urban day version of a shepherd, anyway?
Is it the Uber driver who gets you where you are going? No, because you decide the destination and not the driver / shepherd.
Is it a cross-walk guard? No, because although she gets you safely across a treacherous intersection, she stays put rather than walking with you to the next crossroad.
I could continue to seek a city metaphor, but I don’t know anyone in our metropolis whose job it is to make sure I am fed, nurtured, and protected while keeping me connected to my community. On top of that who would be willing to lay down her / his life for me if need be? Only God does that, and this is the God we serve. This is the one who is concerned about our every need and willing to go as far as necessary to care for us. So if you are feeling hungry, lost, without shelter, or alone, come Sunday to meet and talk with the Shepherd through worship, prayer, and song. Or if you are feeling fed, protected, and surrounded with community, come Sunday to thank the Shepherd. No matter if you are wandering at the moment or satisfied in your pasture, God wants to connect with you, to show the way ahead, and to walk with you through all the crossroads.
With all this in mind, I encourage you to listen to our guest preacher's take on the Good Shepherd.
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42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (ESV)
10:1 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (ESV)