Monday, April 27, 2009

Time in the Word - Easter 4

The theme for the Fourth Sunday of Easter is the Risen Good Shepherd. How fitting that the young labs of God should be confirmed in the faith on that same day, when the undershepherd of Christ will feed them for the first time with the body and blood of our Savior, for the forgiveness of their sins and the strengthening and nourishing of their faith. Truly, the Lord leads them into green pastures and sets a rich feast before them.

Monday, 27 April 2009—Psalm 23; Antiphon, John 14, 15b—The Fourth Sunday of Easter is also known as ‘Good Shepherd Sunday.’ The Introit combines the twenty-third psalm with a portion of Jesus’ words from John 10. One of the key verses of Psalm 23 is verse 3: He restoreth my soul; He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who restores our soul by laying down His life for His sheep. By this sacrificial act, He redeemed us, that we may be righteous in God’s eyes.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009—Psalm 23—Sunday’s psalm is the very familiar twenty-third psalm. Children of God have turned to this psalm for comfort for thousands of years, not just because it uses pretty words and phrases in depicting a tranquil scene, but also because it faces the grim realities of life (Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death; the presence of mine enemies) and gives sure, certain hope to all who are members of the LORD’s flock.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009—Acts 4:1–12—Last week’s first reading told how, after he healed the crippled beggar, Peter proclaimed the death and resurrection of Jesus to the astonished people in the temple. This week’s reading has Peter and John before the Sanhedrin, proclaiming the very same message to the Jewish leaders: And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

Thursday, 30 April 2009—1 John 3:16–24—Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. In Sunday’s epistle reading, St John tells us that if we belong to the Truth—the Truth that is Jesus—that the love of Jesus will control our actions and lives. When our consciences plague us, our hearts will be set at rest, because God has placed His love into our hearts.

Friday, 1 May 2009—John 10:11–18— Sunday’s Gospel is the ‘Good Shepherd’ passage from St John’s Gospel. Jesus calls Himself the ‘good,’ or ‘noble,’ Shepherd. He has made us the sheep of His flock by giving His life for us, and He continues to protect us from all who would do us evil or harm. So long as we remain in His fold, nothing, not even the devil, can harm us. Recall the words of A Mighty Fortress: “And take they our life / Goods, fame, child, and wife / Let these all be gone / They yet have nothing won / The Kingdom ours remaineth.”

Saturday, 2 May 2009—The Hymn of the Day is—no surprise—the twenty-third psalm set to a traditional Irish tune called St Columba. The King of Love My Shepherd Is (LSB #709) re-casts the psalm in a metrified form.

Collect for Easter 4Almighty God, merciful Father, since You have wakened from death the Shepherd of Your sheep, grant us Your Holy Spirit that when we hear the voice of our Shepherd we may know Him who calls us each by name and follow where He leads; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Pr. Jeff Keuning serving Dexter and Casey, IA wrote this week's Time in the Word

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