The fourth Sunday of Easter is also known as Good Shepherd Sunday. This day each year the gospel reading comes from one of the passages in John’s gospel in which Jesus describes himself as a shepherd caring for sheep. Because a shepherd’s staff is a common symbol of bishops, it is fitting that Bishop Sue Briner is joining us as guest preacher this Sunday!
Being known by name, being protected when dangers come, being cared for by someone who really knows us—these are powerful images of human needs. Even though many people have little or no firsthand understanding of a shepherd’s day-to-day work, this image of a strong and caring protector who gives life continues to resonate. The gift of life, of eternal life, is the gift of the risen Christ. It is the promise of Jesus. It was true for Tabitha in Joppa. It was true for those “who have come out of the great ordeal” in the Revelation vision. It was true for Jesus’ first disciples who knew his voice. It is true for us and for all the baptized: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Image: Icon of Jesus as the good shepherd by Giancarlo Pellegrini. Cattedrale Metropolitana di San Pietro, Bologne, Italy. Copyright © Alamy Stock Photo/jozef sedmak. Used by permission.