…and they follow me

The people heard that parishioners from St. Francis in Triangle had gone to St. Fulani to celebrate a Tridentine Rite Mass. And so when they returned they were confronted and asked, “You went to a Tridentine Mass and worshiped with them. How could you be associated with those people?”

The people heard that parishioners from St. Francis in Triangle had gone to an ecumenical prayer service with Muslims, Jews, and Protestants. When they returned they were confronted and asked, “You went to an ecumenical prayer service and consorted with unbelievers, terrorists, and apostates.” Continue reading

Oneness

This coming Sunday is the 4th Sunday of Easter . In yesterday’s post we considered membership in the flock, but from Jesus’ perspective, as we focused on knowing, being given, and following. Today we consider the oneness of Jesus and the Father which is at the heart of our Christian confession – there is a unique relationship between Jesus and the Father (and the Holy Spirit).  That oneness is expressed in Scripture as a oneness of nature, of will, of knowledge, and many things, all the while being a distinct persona.  Some Christians point to v.30 (The Father and I are one.) are a simple proof text of the uniquely Christian confession.  While this verse is part of the confession, this verse is actually quite limited in what it claims.

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Coming to believe

This coming Sunday is the 4th Sunday of Easter . In yesterday’s post we explored the scriptural foundation of shepherd and flock – today we continue that trajectory and its implication: fulfillment of the promised Messiah described in Ezekiel 34. A key element of our Sunday gospel passage is an indication of who is part of the flock of believers. The people know Jesus and they, like folks in every age, want straight answers: Continue reading

The Sheep

This coming Sunday is the 4th Sunday of Easter for Year C of the Lectionary Cycle. The gospel invokes one of the most often used images of God: the shepherd. The Prophet Ezekiel couches the promise that after a long succession of bad shepherds (kings) who fed themselves off the flock, God himself will come as the Good Shepherd. That pastoral imagery is a central part of John 10 and is always used as the gospel for the 4th Sunday of Easter:

Year A – John 10:1-10 (sheepfold, gatekeeper, sheep recognizing the voice)
Year B – John 10:11-18 (“I am the good shepherd”)
Year C – John 10:27-30

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Being good shepherds

Christ the Good ShepherdAfter having graduated from the US Naval Academy – the first cauldron of forming leaders for the Navy and Marine Corp – and after finishing nuclear power training and submarine school, I reported as a bright shiny Ensign to my first submarine! I was ready to be a deep-diving, backing down full at crush depth, denizen of the deep – “Run Silent, Run Deep” and “Hunt for Red October” all rolled into one.

Turns out the submarine’s supply office had just been medically disqualified from serving on submarines, I was the next officer to walk aboard, and so the Captain assigned me as Supply Officer (and Food Service Office) for a submarine that was in a 30-day intensive dry dock refit in which they removed and replaced the galley. Yikes. How did I do? Well… that’s another story.

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Good Shepherd Sunday

I AM the Good Shepherd3This coming Sunday, the 4th Sunday of Easter, is known as “Good Shepherd Sunday,” because of the gospel that is proclaimed:

11 I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. 13 This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.   18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father.”

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The Gatekeeper

Next Sunday is the 4th Easter of Sunday. You can read a complete commentary on the Gospel here.

1 “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. 2 But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.    3 The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. 5 But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.” 6 Although Jesus used this figure of speech, they did not realize what he was trying to tell them. 7 So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who came (before me) are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly. (John 10:1-10) Continue reading

A name spoken

“My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27)

In many ways the stories of the Bible highlight people hearing God call their names and they respond by following. Noah heard his name called, built an ark, and saved lives. Abraham and Sarah heard their names called, traveled to a land not their own, and became our parents in faith. Moses heard his name and set his people free. The prophet Samuel heard his name called and responded, “Here I am Lord. Your servant is listening.” Hosea, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah and all the prophets heard their names called and followed. Continue reading