The Sunday Lectionary Readings
SUNDAY, May 3, 2020 — Fourth Sunday of Easter
(Revised Common Lectionary Year A)
Acts 2:42-47; Psalm 23; 1 Peter 2:19-25; John 10:1-10
In general, we don’t like being compared to sheep. And while the image of God as shepherd may be nostalgically comforting, it doesn’t fit with our everyday lives. But focusing on a God who loves us deeply, who takes care of us and guides us along the way, who will never abandon us, and who calls us by name is an image worth lifting up and preserving, even if it is expressed in an anachronistic way.
We are standing at the gate, o loving Shepherd, not sure about the journey. But you have called our names, and in your voice we hear such love and surety. Bring us safely on the journey and strengthen us that we may serve you in all that we do. Amen.
Prayer of Confession
(adapted from Psalm 23, John 10)
Shepherding God, be with us in our need. Like sheep who have gone astray—we have not heeded your voice, calling us to follow the right paths, beckoning us to lie down and be restored; we have acted as if our salvation lies in busyness and control. We do not want to be sheep—dependent on a shepherd for everything. We want to do it alone—to maintain our independence. Forgive us for rejecting your shepherding care and your love and guidance. Forgive us for our need to do it by ourselves, to be separate from the flock. Forgive us for doubting your presence in times of trouble. Forgive us our despair in the face of seemingly unrelenting evil and death. Lead us back to the path of life. Amen.
Words of Assurance
(adapted from 1 Peter 2, John 10)
Jesus said, I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly. In so confessing, we have returned to the shepherd, the guardian of our souls who welcomes us with open arms and a glad heart. Know that the shepherd of our lives never abandons us, is always calling our name, and unfailingly loves and forgives us.
(from the Book of Common Prayers)
O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people: Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Prayer of the Day
O God our shepherd, you know your sheep by name and lead us to safety through the valleys of death. Guide us by your voice, that we may walk in certainty and security to the joyous feast prepared in your house, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
The believers’ common life
2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
God our shepherd
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
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
Follow the shepherd even in suffering
2:19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
22 “He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth.”
23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
Alleluia. Jesus says, I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me. Alleluia.
Christ the shepherd
10:1 “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Here end the Readings
Click HERE to read today’s Holy Gospel Lesson message
- I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
- I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord, who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to hell. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
- I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen
A nondenominational serving of bread and wine
Many churches around the world are working hard to adapt to online worship, and one challenge is how our members can celebrate communion from home. Though no video can truly replace the experience of celebrating together in our places of worship, we know that where two or more are gathered, the Lord is present.
You have been given your rest, now go and proclaim with your lives the good news of Jesus Christ. Be a Good Shepherd to someone today. Amen.
Christ’s death and resurrection mean that we are invited to join God in his plan to redeem this broken world. It’s not just a wishful idea; it’s a call to every follower of Jesus to change the world.
Optional parts of the readings are set off in [square brackets.]
The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
The Daily Lectionary for SUNDAY, May 3, 2020
Fourth Sunday of Easter
Acts 2:42-47; Psalm 23; 1 Peter 2:19-25; John 10:1-10