Many congratulations to Bishop Carl this week as he celebrates the second anniversary (May 2) of
Nothing would ever change the joy of Easter, even though everything would change. Jesus’ friends gathered around him in celebration and connection during the amazing days following Easter. And he intentionally prepared them for what would follow.
In his early ministry, Jesus had gathered a few disciples, some thankful crowds, and some interested onlookers as he taught and healed and cared. At the time of his death, his crowds had melted away or turned against him and there were precious few who remained loyal to him.
In grief and regret, some of these fickle disciples gathered together and were overjoyed by the Easter miracle of Jesus’ resurrection and appearance to them. In these appearances to individuals, groups and crowds, Jesus began reassembling his community, restoring and repairing to wholeness.
This week’s readings give us a glimpse into the teaching Jesus gave (before his death) that displays (though initially not comprehended) the painstaking work he would do to gather and care for his flock.
Why would this be an issue for Easter readers like us?
Because the flock of Jesus keeps growing. From the solitary eyewitness and joyful pairs of Easter morning to the dozen-ish on Easter evening, to the 120 in the Upper Room, the 500 in the crowd of witnesses to the 3000 who gathered after baptism to follow the Risen Christ,
Jesus anticipates that his flock will expand and grow. And it does. And it will.
So, Jesus gives his friends guidance ahead of time to confidently care for his unwieldy flock afterwards.
We see this theme develop across the readings.
Psalm 23 and John 10 give us the vision of the Good Shepherd, while Acts 2 and 1 Peter give us a glimpse of how the disciples of Jesus carry on his ministry with those who have come to trust in the Risen Christ.
In preparation for Sunday, I challenge you to do two things.
One– Think of people whose voice you recognize just by its sound. Not only James Earl Jones, but a person whose cadence and tone you immediately know. Here is a video of sheep and their shepherd showing the idea.
Two– Memorize Psalm 23. If you already have, pick your favorite line. If you never have, start at the beginning and work your way down. You can find it in your Prayer Book on page 612 (traditional language on page 476-477) We will say it together on Sunday, and yes, we will depend on one another to make it through. Here are a couple arrangements of Psalm 23 I have enjoyed this week.
I’d love to hear who you can hear so distinctly. Share the names of voices you recognize and other songs that remind you of the Good Shepherd by emailing them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
See you Sunday,
A psalm of David
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
3 He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord