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

Hi everyone,

So after about 6-7 weeks of almost working exclusively at home (and on the phone), I think I’m finally getting the hang of it. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve finally carved out some desk space in a room that we have that was once solely used for storage. This room is now comfortable, private, and slightly less cluttered. I’ve been slowly adding to it as the days go by so it feels more like an “office” rather than a “random room that I carved out desk space in which is now a bit more comfortable, private, and slightly less cluttered”.

I like this room because it houses much of the stuff that we couldn’t fit in the rest of the house, namely my wife’s baking stuff which includes a small fridge that I can cool my beverages in, and a whole bunch of toys from years and years of buying toys (not just mine, but collectively with our kids). Also, this room is at the end of the hall and has a door that I can close when I need to get work done.

While it is nice to be able to close that door for more quiet and privacy, I find that I miss a lot of what my kids are doing. Although I am still with them a lot more than when I wasn’t working from home, I find that I miss them even when I am just in the other rooms. So I’ve noticed that I just keep the door open more often, so even if I can’t be actively playing with them, I can hear them and what they’re up to. I know, super nosey but hey, that is just me being me.

But this also tells them that they are welcome to come into this room where I am. Sure, I admit there have been a couple times that I really needed to get something done and so I had to kick them out, but on the most part they know they are always welcome (sometimes more welcome than I would want).

Here are the readings for next week:
Acts 2:42-47
Psalm 23
1 Peter 2:19-25
John 10:1-10

As you may have gathered from the post title, this coming Sunday is Good Shepherd Sunday, the day of the year (that always lands on the 4th Sunday of Easter) that is dedicated to highlighting Jesus as our Good Shepherd, based on what we call the “Good Shepherd Discourse” of John 10. So of course, for this year we get a passage about Jesus being a door, not a shepherd.

This is almost a surprising twist in the story, in that you’d think that Jesus would say that he’s the shepherd that uses the gate to tend to the sheep, but instead his explanation is that he’s the gate, and that goodness and life come in through him.

And I think this makes sense, especially in light of what is going on with us in these days. Similar to what I was talking about in today’s sermon, how are we going to interpret what is happening in the world? How are we going to filter all the news and events that we hear during this pandemic? Through what door are we going to allow our recognition of God’s work in the world?

See, as we are bombarded with images and themes pretty much all day everyday, there are many ways we can see these things. Perhaps as a nuisance, that maybe the conspiracy theorists are right in that this whole pandemic is only a way to oppress us and to destroy our economy. Or as the apocalypse or end of the world, in that everything is now meaningless and who cares what happens to us or our loved ones. Or even still as a reason to laugh at others and ridicule them because they are doing things that we might not agree with.

Or lastly, we can see this as a way to understand more clearly God working in the world. We can look at the good in others, seeing the generosity of strangers, and the compassion of neighbours helping neighbours. See, when the news we hear comes in through the door that is Jesus, that the filter that we interpret these events be one of grace, mercy, and love, that when we see the good news in the midst of bad news, then we know the presence of Jesus in our lives, acting as the Good Shepherd, and seeing that this whole event could be seen as full of hope, promise, and God alive and well working in and through us all, helping to being out the best possible outcome of this generally awful situation.

May the doors to our hearts be open, allowing things to come in through a “Jesus lens”, showing us God present in the world. Thanks be to God!

Have a great week, everyone!

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