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

Hi everyone,

So yesterday our family headed out to Richmond for this pop up carnival thing that was going on. We’ve seen this thing year after year but I don’t remember ever actually going, and since the weather was great we thought it’d be a fun way to spend the afternoon. We were partially right.

I mean, I always enjoy spending time with our kids, because kids are fun to hang out with (so I’ll enjoy it while they still want to hang out with me). But it was just that the carnival was very… I don’t know… carnival-ish. In that while it was free to go in and wander around, everything you can do was kind of expensive. Expensive food, expensive rides, expensive games. Maybe I’m just cheap, and I know they need to turn a profit somehow, but I just felt it wasn’t worth paying these exorbitant prices for a lacklustre and mediocre experience.

Yeah, maybe I’m just cheap.

Nothing against anyone who loves these carnivals or invests in them in any way, they totally can be fun if you’re into this sort of thing (and can afford it), but I felt the obvious money grab as off putting. Like the game vendors were very good at sucking you in to playing their games that are nearly impossible to win at, and before you know it you spent $50 to win a tiny stuffed animal, which you probably would be able to buy from the dollar store yourself.

Actually, maybe I’m just cynical.

But I just don’t feel the care for others at these things. I saw people cutting the line, acting inconsiderate, and eyes glowing with greed and selfishness. I guess it just felt like I was just a dollar sign for the vendors who wanted nothing to do with me other than to sucker me in to paying more, more, and more.

Yeah, I think I am just cynical. But I think I’d choose a caring community over a callous carnival any day of the week. Maybe that’s just me.

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

This upcoming Sunday is also known as Good Shepherd Sunday, where we are again reminded of the goodness and shepherdness of Jesus. And what that normally means is Jesus’ welcome, grace, and love for us as his flock. I know, that doesn’t always mean a lot to us, especially those of us who don’t have a lot of experience with shepherds or sheep (which I suspect to be a great deal of us). But I think we can relate to the themes of community, compassion, and care.

And that is what Jesus is about. That is the message of the gospel. Throughout these texts and beyond we see it time and again how life in community is good for all in and around the community. We are called to live a life in humble service to God and our fellow humans. We are promised a divine love and grace that saves us all from shame, guilt, and condemnation.

In all of that, there is inclusion, welcome, and belonging. These are the markers of a Christian community that is infused with God’s promises, God’s truth, and God’s salvation that brings us together to act, to live, to just be for the good of all.

This is the Christian life, my friends. This is the resurrection that we are promised and given. This is the gospel revealing to us community, relationship, and love. This is Easter.

May we live this Easter life in all that we do and all that we are, and know that we are eternally cared for by the Good Shepherd who welcomes us into this fold of saints.

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

Photo by Jake Weirick on Unsplash

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