From the Desktop of the Pastor – Week of the 4th Sunday of Easter (Good Shepherd Sunday)

Hi everyone,

My goodness the weather has been great out there. I admit that the nicer it gets out there, the harder it is for me to stay inside and work. I know, I could technically take my computer outside and type, but it’s difficult enough for me to get anything done while looking out the window and daydreaming every 2-5 minutes, let alone actually being outside where the daydreams flow like water. Also, it doesn’t help that my wife bought another above ground pool for the kids, and if I were outside, then they’d want to be outside. And if they were outside, they’d want to play in the pool. And if they were playing in the pool, then I’d want to play in the pool. Life is funny that way.

This pool is a lot nicer than that inflatable one we had last year (it punctured in two spots already). It’s bigger for one, and it came with a filter and all that jazz to keep it clean. I spent a lot of Friday afternoon setting it up. It seemed easy enough to put together, but after about 2 and half hours of trying to figure out where the best place to put the pool and what direction it should face, I finally turned on the hose to fill that sucker up.

About 4 hours after that it still wasn’t full so I just gave up and decided to go again the next day. After all was said and done, 2/3 of the kids went in the water, complained it was too cold, and got back out. But that 1/3 kid stayed in so I was still on lifeguard duty while having to make sure the other 2 were warming up and not burning in the sun.

It’s a tough life, this budget pool life. But not for the kids. For the kids, it’s great. they have their fun, their snacks and drinks, and their fair share of vitamin D. Their parents are the ones who do all the work and worry, they just enjoy the fruits of our labours.

But it’s all good. We love seeing them happy and enjoying life, especially during these times. So the work put into it is worth it for us.

Here are the readings for next week:
Acts 4:5-12
Psalm 23
1 John 3:16-24
John 10:11-18

As you might have seen in the title of this post, this Sunday is also known as Good Shepherd Sunday (and also Vocational Sunday, but we’ll talk about that more on Sunday). Good Shepherd Sunday happens every 4th Sunday of Easter (as does Vocational Sunday, but again, we’ll talk more about that later), and every year we get a portion of John 10, which is also known as the “Good Shepherd discourse”. In this passage, Jesus talks about how he acts as a shepherd for all of God’s people, which is super poetic and all but admittedly not super relevant for us who are living in urban Lower Mainland, which doesn’t see many shepherds, sheep, or even general farm animals much anymore.

However, I do know what it means when we are called sheep these days. And it isn’t exactly a compliment. “Sheep” in today’s context are people who can’t think for themselves, who only follow the crowd, and are basically seen as weak, spineless, and more of a follower than a leader.

And Jesus calls us this?

Well, yes and no. The term “sheep” was used, but it didn’t have the same meaning. Jesus didn’t mean weak as much as he meant cared for. He didn’t mean spineless as much as he meant reliant. He didn’t mean a follower, but he… oh wait, yeah he did.

See in this day and age, everyone wants to lead, have power, and control their situation. They want to take charge (and the subsequent credit) of things. They want to call their own shots. But Jesus here reminds us that we needn’t call our own shots as those shots have already been called by a gracious and loving God. He says that we needn’t worry about taking charge of things as things are taken care of already. He says that we needn’t worry about tomorrow, because we know who holds the future.

This isn’t to say that we can just relax and do absolutely nothing in terms of our responsibilities as people. But what I see Jesus saying here is that we don’t have to compete with others for value, worth, or enjoyment of life, but we are free to care for each other, care for ourselves, and live in community and right relationship with all of God’s people.

And I get that some people make this really hard to do. I get there are some people that are just easy to dislike. But my encouragement is that we don’t need to be those people, as just as we are freed to see our unwaivering position in God’s family and kingdom, so we are free to see the same exact unwaivering position in everyone else.

This isn’t an easy calling as God’s children, but we know that we have a Good Shepherd on our side through it all, leading us, guiding us, and nourishing us with peace and love.

Thanks be to God! Have a great week, everyone!

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