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    Apr 22, 2018

    Sermon Easter 4B

    Preacher: The Rev. Joan Mason, Rector

    Series: Rector

    Category: Weekly Sermon


    Easter 4B 

    April 21-22, 2018

    This hangs in the hallway outside the church office door.  I see it each time I go through the door.  I think it is my all-time favorite image of the Good Shepherd – one that shows Jesus carrying a sheep that obviously has gone astray, all the way up on His shoulders – how nice to be grasped by the Son of God so firmly.  Protected from danger, and comforted when scared or alone.

    Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is our model for today.  We are called to shepherd others just like he did.  He knows each sheep by name.  Ten sheep or 500 sheep, it doesn’t matter.  He knows each one and loves each individually.  We can do this for each other; getting to know one another beyond a smile and a quick greeting.

    Jesus also pays attention to the edges of the flock, looking for those who are drifting or missing.  If one is hurt or lost, Jesus immediately leaves the flock to find the one.  All of us can be this kind of shepherd to each other.  Keep your eyes on the edges of our community and notice who is missing.  Who have you not seen in a while?  You can make contact with them to let them know they are missed.  Maybe an email, phone call, or even a visit.  Your reaching out to them helps keep them connected to the church. 

    Imagine for a moment what Jesus would do with visitors or new sheep to the flock.  He notices when new ones arrive and helps them to become a part of the community.  He knows their name and would love and protect them just like all the others.  I invite you to notice who is unfamiliar to you at church on any given day, making efforts to meet them, and to help them feel welcomed; to love them as Jesus would love them.  You may need to step away from your friends to do this well.  

    There is another important aspect of being a good shepherd.  It is relatively easy to stand at the front door and greet those who walk in new to the church.  But we are called to go out, away from the church, to meet people where they are, and to talk about this wonderful good news that we have found.  It’s not for the purpose of getting them to come to our church.  It’s just to share the good news.  If they want to come see where you are nourished, then you can bring them, but that is not the main goal.  Pray that God will place you in situations where God could use you.  Maybe someone is going through a really tough time and you could ask, “Would it be ok if I said a short prayer for you?”  Or maybe someone has questions about faith, and you could share how you get through life.  God will bless your willingness to be His hands and feet in action.  The Gospel says, “There are other sheep that are not yet a part of the flock.”  Jesus is seeking others outside the existing community, and we are called to do the same. 

    Good Shepherd (weekend) Sunday can be such a fluffy, warm and comforting time remembering how much God loves us. And God does!!  But God is giving us this example of Jesus so we can be pushed and pulled to follow Him.  Church is not just a place to see friends.  It is also where we learn to be good shepherds to others.  To those who are here today.  To those who are absent.  And even to those who do not yet know about Jesus. 

    Jesus loves you immensely.  He is your Good Shepherd.  May God grant each of us the wisdom and courage to be good shepherds ourselves, just like Jesus.