getting out the word

the fourth sunday of easter

the PRAYER …

O God of peace, you brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, the great shepherd of the sheep. By the blood of your eternal covenant, make us complete in everything good that we may do your will, and work among us all that is well-pleasing in your sight, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


[Jesus answered,] “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.” john 10:22-30


In 1790, according to Wikipedia, nineteen of every twenty Americans lived on farms. By the end of WW1, that number was down to one-in-two. And today? Four out of five Americans live in cities. Which means – among other things – very few of us understand where food comes from. I asked a group of ten-year-olds, once, where bread comes from. I expected them to say, “Wheat!” Instead, they said, “Albertson’s!” And when it comes to shepherds and sheep, most of us are like those ten-year-olds. Truth is, most of what we do know, comes more from sundaySchool lessons and sermons than firsthand experience.

We read verses like this one, and I’d bet most of our minds go to altar calls and prayers inviting Jesus into our hearts, with “Just as I Am” playing softly in the background. But in real life, sheep don’t choose their shepherd. The shepherd chooses the sheep! Comes to them! Lives with them! Making them lie down in green pastures! Leading them beside still waters! Comforting them with rod and staff! The only reason the sheep know the shepherd’s voice is because the shepherd speaks to them! As they live with the shepherd … as they’re led by the shepherd … they learn to trust! Trust the shepherd’s trustworthiness! Learn they can have faith! Faith in the faithfulness of the shepherd! Believing’s not manufactured and contrived. But natural, instinctive. And the flock’s knowing is based on nothing more – on nothing less – than the shepherd’s love! Love for each and every! Love for one and for all!

Midland Lutheran Church