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The Bulletin Insert Sunday 17th April, 2016 Year C ‘The Good Shepherd’

BULLETIN INSERT Lismore Anglican Parish Sun 17th April & Wed 20th April 2016
‘The Good Shepherd’ John 10:22-30, Acts 9:36-43, Rev 7:9-17
“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me.” [Jn 10: 11]

Some of the earliest images of Jesus found in churches and tombs were not portrayals of Jesus on the cross, or the infant in the manger. Rather, they picture Jesus as the gentle shepherd. And what may be one of the earliest paintings of all is of a very young Jesus, dressed in a short white tunic, who has draped a lamb over his shoulders.

The dual theme of this week’s readings is an invitation to Christian communities and individuals to enter more fully and more practically into the Easter journey and living the resurrection life. On the one hand, we all face the threat of death – the big deaths of loss of loved ones or personal tragedy, and the small ones of broken relationships or difficult life circumstances – and we are reminded that life is found in the midst of death. The comfort this message offers is also a call to keep faith, to continue to strive to live in compassionate and life-giving ways, and to model – whatever our role in life – the Good Shepherds, providing, protecting and guiding those under our care. Ultimately, when justice fails in any community, it is both a crisis of leadership and a crisis of faith. The resurrection addresses both needs, and gives us the resources we need to engage the hurting places in our world. If each individual sought to bring life to each person he or she encountered each day, and if each person sought to be a good shepherd to others, our communities would be places of equality, sufficiency, peace, justice and celebration. May we learn to be life-giving shepherds like this!

Adapted from http://sacredise.com/lectionary/2016/04/easter-4c/#more-117.
Image: The Good Shepherd was found in the Vault of Lucina in the Catacomb of Callixtus, Rome.

John 10:22-30
22At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, 23and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. 24So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” 25Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; 26but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. 27My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand.
29What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. 30The Father and I are one.”

Acts 9:36-43
36Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. 37At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs. 38Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.” 39So Peter got up and went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them. 40Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. 41He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. 42This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. 43Meanwhile he stayed in Joppa for some time with a certain Simon, a tanner.

Revelation 7:9-17
9After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. 10They cried out in a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12singing, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
13Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?” 14I 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. 15For 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. 16They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; 17for the Lamb at the center 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.”