Readings for Easter 4:
Monday: Acts 11:1-18; Psalm 41:2-3, 42:3-4; John 10:1-10
Tuesday: Acts 11:19-26; Psalm 87; John 10:22-30
Wednesday: Acts 12:24-13:5; Psalm 67. 2-3, 5-6, 8; John 12:44-50
Thursday: Acts 13:13-25; Psalm 89:1, 2, 19-26; John 6. 44-51
Friday: Acts 13:26-33; Psalm 2; John 14:1-6
Saturday: Acts 13:44-52; Psalm 97:1-4; John 14:7-14
Easter 4 is more often known as Good Shepherd Sunday. We are reminded in the gospel (John10) that a good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. Part of our Easter celebration is that Jesus does this for us and , as importantly, for those ‘who do not belong to this fold’ – in other words Salvation is not reserved to an ‘in’ group but is freely given and offered to all. Jesus dies for all of humanity, including those who reject and despise who he is. He lays down his life in order to take it up again because he is a God of love, of compassion and understanding. Today’s first reading (on Friday) celebrated the conversion of St Paul -who turned from persecutor to proclaimer. That is the opportunity Jesus offers to all of us.
We are beginning to plan for further re-opening. If I have read the guidelines correctly (and someone tell me if I haven’t) we can meet indoors from 17th May and so are planning our first bible study on Thursday 20th. I presume that once restaurants and coffee shop are open indoors we can think about coffee (but probably not biscuits!). We await a word from on high…….
One note of great sadness: you can see from the sheet that Mel Jones has died, aged 89. Mel has been in declining health for a while but we will remember him as a man with unfailing courtesy and a lively sense of humour who enriched us by his regular presence on Sunday morning and enriched the grumpy old men’s table with his wisdom. We offer our sympathy to Elizabeth and her family. His funeral, like all funerals, is by invitation only.
It is good to see John Street crowded again and to know that we are stepping cautiously away from another lockdown. Even Mr Drakeford seems cheerful!
Peace and joy be yours,
I am the door of the sheepfold
Not one that’s gently hinged or deftly hung,
Not like the ones you planed at Joseph’s place,
Not like the well-oiled openings that swung
So easily for Pilate’s practiced pace,
Not like the ones that closed in Mary’s face
From house to house in brimming Bethlehem,
Not like the one that no man may assail,
The dreadful curtain, The forbidding veil
That waits your breaking in Jerusalem.
Not one you made but one you have become:
Load-bearing, balancing, a weighted beam
To bridge the gap, to bring us within reach
Of your high pasture. Calling us by name,
You lay your body down across the breach,
Yourself the door that opens into home.