Sunday, April 25, 2010

Starting Points

Today's readings were full of launching points for a sermon. We started with Psalm 23. You remember,
"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake..."

And Acts 9:36-43 with the miracle of Peter's prayer resulting in Tabitha returning to life.
Then Revelation 7:9-17 with it's remarkable imagery and this interesting exchange,
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, ‘Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?’ I said to him, ‘Sir, you are the one that knows.’ Then he said to me, ‘These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
For this reason they are before the throne of God,
and worship him day and night within his temple,
and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them.
They will hunger no more, and thirst no more;
the sun will not strike them,
nor any scorching heat;
for the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of the water of life,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’

And finally, the sharp words of Jesus included in John 10:22-30
"The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one."

Our Deacon, Rick Hanners did an excellent job bringing in all the texts with the exception of Peter's work on Tabitha. Rick focused on us as sheep, something we really would rather not be if we had our druthers. Since we do not want to be led, what would make us follow this Shepherd that the scriptures testify to?

This was one of those rare, "Follow Jesus" sermons that we needed to hear and listen to attentively, anxiously, yearningly, for us to forget for the moment our selfish thoughts and cares, and to begin anew and follow Him. I hope my readers were blessed with a similar Sunday.


  1. He had all the same readings, but launched into a 12 week study of Ephesians. It's no small irony that the reading in Acts 9 ends with Peter at Simon the tanner's house. He's about to see a vision and witness the outpouring of the Spirit on the Gentiles -- the "mystery" that Paul goes to great lengths to elaborate in his letter to the Ephesian believers.

    God bless deacon Rick.

  2. Those verses from John provide great assurance, don't they?


  3. Slip of the finger. I meant "We" at St. Jude's have started on Ephesians. Sorry for any confusion.