Reflections and Prayers 4th Sunday of Easter - 25th April
This week's readings can be found here John 10.11-18
Reflection - ‘I am the good shepherd.’ (John 10, 11; 10.14.)
From the earliest times Israel came to understand God as holy, just, awesome, mighty, a great judge and ruler of all. Walk into any medieval church and many cathedrals. You will see Jesus presented as the ruler of all with majesty, might and power. Sadly we can understand this almighty God as rather distant from us, distant from you and me.
From my reading it is the prophet Isiah who presents God as caring and loving, a shepherd who gives his life for his sheep. Jesus went further asking us to see God in very personal terms – Abba, Father, one who wants the best for his children.
For the people listening to Jesus the shock was possibly not in referring to himself as a shepherd but, ‘I am the good shepherd.’ To simply say ‘I am’ was to acknowledge the name of the Lord God, the king of kings and Lord of Lords. (YAWEH)
Remember the Easter story .When Jesus was arrested and taken to the High Priest he was asked directly ,’Are you the Christ, the son of the blessed one’ ‘I am’ said Jesus. (Mark 14; 61, 62)
Jesus used the phrase, ‘I am’ many times and to many of his listeners the word we translate as good was also significant. In the original it means beautiful, noble and wonderful. Jesus proclaimed, ‘I am the good shepherd.’ In these five words and the passage we have read Jesus gives to himself and to his father all the attributes of care, love and compassion we could hope for in a friend while retaining majesty, dominion and power,
Jesus still wants us to hear his voice, talk with him in prayer and think through his will for our lives. In telling us that he is the good shepherd Jesus asks us to accept his sacrifice on the cross, to love him and to follow in his way.
Rev Bill Herbert.
The Pathways of the Holy Land
The pathways of Thy land are little changed Since Thou wert there; The busy world through other ways has ranged, And left these bare.
The rooky path still climbs the glowing steep Of Olivet; Though rains of two millenniums wear it deep, Men tread it yet.
Still to the gardens o’er the brook it leads, Quiet and low; Before his sheep the shepherd on it treads, His voice they know
The wild fig throws broad shadows o’er it still, As once o’er Thee; Peasants go home at evening up that hill To Bethany.
And as when gazing Thou didst weep o’er them, From height to height The white roofs of discrowned Jerusalem Burst on our sight.
These ways were strewed with garments once and palm, Which we tread thus; Here through Thy triumph on Thou passedst, calm, To death;—for us!
The waves have washed fresh sands upon the shore Of Galilee; But chiselled in the hill-sides evermore Thy paths we see.
Man has not changed them in that slumbering land, Nor Time effaced: Where Thou hast stood to heal, we still may stand; All can be traced.
Yet we have traces of Thy footsteps far Truer than these;— Where’er the poor, and tried, and suffering are, Thy steps faith sees.
Nor with fond sad regrets Thy steps we trace; Thou art not dead! Our path is onward, till we see Thy face, And hear Thy tread.
And now, wherever meets Thy lowliest band In praise and prayer, There is Thy presence, there Thy Holy Land,— Thou, Thou art there!
To Pray for
Those missing onboard the Indonesian Submarine, lost off the coast of Bali
The wildfires on Table Mountain, Cape Town are soon under control
The Royal Family as they near the end of their two week Mourning period.