Sunday, November 29, 2020

A Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Easter

May 3, 2020 by  
Filed under Latest News

Dear Friends,

I hope that you are managing to cope with the restriction imposed upon us at the moment because of Covid19. This is a difficult and trying time for all of us.  However, the consequences of not accepting the restrictions does not bear thinking about; this virus has taken too many lives already and we must bring it to an end for the sake of us all.  We will come through this; be strong and be safe.

Yours aye,

 Alistair.

Readings for the Fourth Sunday of Easter:-  Psalm 23 and John 10. 1 – 11

What we know about Jesus early life is somewhat sketchy We know where he was born and all the circumstances surrounding the birth. We know that his parents took him to Egypt to escape from Herod’s plan to kill him.  After Herod died, he returned home.  When still quite young he went to the synagogue and engaged with the elders there, discussing the Scriptures.  After that we assume that he worked alongside Joseph learning to be a carpenter.  In the gospel narratives He is referred to as Rabbi or teacher. 

When we then go on to talk about Jesus being the Good Shepherd, it doesn’t mean that he was ever employed as a shepherd; it’s very unlikely that He ever stood guard over a herd of sheep;  the dynamic of sheep and shepherd seems uncomplicated whilst at the same time being profound.  A good shepherd not only makes sure that his sheep are kept safe and led to the best pastures. In these readings this week, we learn something really quite important about our relationship with Jesus and Jesus with us.  All that is required is trust.

The shepherd needs to know the conditions and the lay of the land, and the sheep need to listen and know the voice of the shepherd and recognize Him as the good and caring shepherd who doesn’t only lead them and takes them to the best pastures but protects them too.

During the public part of Jesus life, that is after he was baptized and began his ministry demonstrated Jesus’ selflessness is demonstrated very well; healing, caring, feeding and healing, , understanding, always non-judgmental with even those intent on stoning to death their enemies, loving the unlovely, building up those who felt down-trodden and the marginalized,  and even all of that simply doesn’t do Jesus justice.  However, the community John’s gospel speaks to, something like 80 years after the resurrection, were satisfied to have Jesus bear responsibility for shepherding them in their faith.

We too, at all times have to put our trust in the Christ. Jesus is a trusted leader who knows us all by name and leads us to a place where we will have a fulfilling life.

Following Christ means taking up a cross, the thought of which might be scary, because it looks like we are being led to death not life.  But we can be sure that Jesus is leading us to the right place.  He died on his cross so that we will not perish but have everlasting life.

Christ calls us each by name and he leads us, as a shepherd leads his flock along a pathway that he has already walked before us.  For those who trust in him and have the courage to follow, an abundant life awaits. 

Amen.  

A Prayer. 

Loving Father, we pray for all those who feel unable to cope with the pressures of daily life at this time, those facing the darkness of despair and fear.

Living God, thank you for all who work to bring help and healing for the sick – doctors, nurses and all medical staff.  Support and strengthen all those who share in the work of healing and all who strive to bring relief  to those in hospital or in care homes or in their own homes, and bring comfort to all those who grieve the loss of a loved one, and be very close to the scientists who strive to fine a vaccine for Corona viruses.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. 

Amen.

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