Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Grazing, Raising and Rising

For the rest of the Easter Season, I will be using the lectionary readings as the basis of my sermons. The lectionary is a three year cycle of Scripture readings that allow the church to read through most of the Bible.

For April 25th, the Scripture readings were Psalm 23, John 9:22-30 and Acts 16:36-43.

Psalm 23 speaks to us about sheep grazing. One of the images of God's followers is sheep, with God being the Great Shepherd. A question that emerges from Psalm 23 is What is your spiritual diet? Psalm 23 declares that the Great Shepherd will be with us, through the green pastures and the valley of the shadow of death. Through it all, goodness and mercy shall follow us. In our spiritual lives, we need to graze upon goodness and mercy.

The passage in John is the words of Jesus in response to the religious leaders of his day. The leaders were raising the question about the authenticity of Jesus. Jesus said, "my sheep will know my voice". There are many competing voices in this world. And the loudest most pressing voice is not always the one to follow. Do you follow the voice of the Great SShepherd? The promise of Christ to his sheep is that in the midst of the varied seasons of life, we will not be snatched out of God's hand.

The Acts passage, which describes a disciple named Dorcas rising from the dead, is one of the reasons why the lectionary is so valuable: it makes us read the meaningful and the challenging passages of scripture. Most of us will never see a miracle like this, and it can even hurt us as we read it, for we wonder why a miracle like this could not have happened to someone we loved who has died.

the Easter Season is about celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christ's followers become living illustrations to the world. Just as Christ died and rose to new life, we are called to die to our sins, and to be transformed by Christ's new life. How do we model the resurrection power of Jesus Christ?

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