Fourth Sunday in Easter
|Acts 2:42-47||The daily fellowship of believers||133: Leaning on the Everlasting
557: Blest Be the Tie That Binds
|Psalm 23||The daily care of the Shepherd||138: The King of Love My Shepherd Is|
|John 10:1-10||The sheep know their shepherd; The Shepherd knows His sheep||348: Softly and Tenderly
Jesus Is Calling
381: Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us
|1 Peter 2:19-25||Sheep who strayed have returned||496: Sweet Hour of
650: Give Me the Faith Which Can Remove
The lectionary scriptures this week focus heavily on the Shepherd and His sheep. For that matter, so does the Bible. In the King James Version, the word "shepherd" appears 43 times, "sheep" 187 times, "flock" 111 times, and "lamb" 105 times. You don't have to be sheepish about those numbers! OK, ewe are right, that was a baaaa-d joke. I'll stop now before you do!
Some interesting things are shared about sheep in these passages. Sheep go astray, but they can return. Sheep hear well, and they know the voice of their shepherd. Sheep know how a shepherd is supposed to act. And sheep grow when they return to the fold regularly and nuture one another. Just as importantly, these scriptures describe traits of the Shepherd. He comes through the gate. He has a familiar voice. He leads his flocks where they will be safe and well nourished. When they return, He welcomes them. What a wonderful relationship! Isn't it amazing? Our spiritual lives can be just that easy, but instead we make our lives so hard.
This week's featured hymn was written by Henry W. Baker (1821-1877). He was editor-in-chief of the Hymns Ancient and Modern, an Anglican hymnal, and contributed hymns, tunes, and translations. In The United Methodist Hymnal, Baker is credited with the text of The King of Love My Shepherd Is and with part of the translation for Of the Father's Love Begotten. Both are deeply spiritual hymns and tie to historic scriptures and traditions of our faith. Enjoy the words of this hymn:
|1. The King of love my shepherd is,
whose goodness faileth never.
I nothing lack if I am his,
and he is mine forever.
|2. Where streams of living water flow,
my randomed soul he leadeth;
and where the verdant pastures grow,
with food celestial feedeth.
|3. Perverse and foolish, oft I strayed,
but yet in love he sought me;
and on his shoulder gently laid,
and home, rejoicing, brought me.
|4. In death's dark vale I fear no ill,
with thee, dear Lord, beside me;
thy rod and staff my comfort still,
thy cross before to guide me.
|5. Thou spreadst a table in my sight;
thy unction grace bestoweth;
and oh, what transport of delight
from thy pure chalice floweth!
|6. And so through all the length of days,
thy goodness faileth never;
Good Shepherd, may I sing thy praise
within thy house forever.
An alternate tune by John B. Dykes, DOMINUS REGIT ME, appears at number 67 in the 1964 Methodist Hymnal.
Like sheep, you can know that you are in the fold. You can be part of the flock. You can know the joy of fellowship. You can know the Shepherd. You can hear His call and you know His voice. The Shepherd comes in at the door. You know you can trust Him. So trust him. The King of Love My Shepherd Is. Is He your shepherd, too?
God bless you--
|Passages suggested are from The Revised Common Lectionary: Consultation on Common Texts (Abingdon Press, 1992) copyright © by the Consultation on Common Texts (CCT), P.O. Box 340003, Room 381, Nashville TN 37203-0003. Reprinted with permission of CCT.|