Fourth Sunday in Lent: Celebrating the Goodness of the Divine Shepherd

Fourth Sunday in Lent: Celebrating the Goodness of the Divine Shepherd

Psalm 23

"The Lord is my Shepherd…he restores my soul… Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me…and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.” —Psalm 23

David celebrates God as his shepherd who provides for him, cares for him, protects him, and in whose house he will live his whole life long. 

Easter is about restoration, life, and God’s compassionate care for everyone. God’s care is so compassionate that God sent Jesus, the Good Shepherd, to care for the sheep—the believers—with commitment and courage. The Good Shepherd laid down his life for those he took care of, and in this loving sacrifice became the hope of resurrection.   

The resurrection calls for us to be shepherds like Jesus, to be able to lay down our lives for others. It is the hope of resurrection that makes sacrifice possible, and it gives us the strength to risk loving and serving others, even when it hurts. We are called to use our influence to bring life to others, to serve others and to work sacrificially for the good of our communities. It is this vision that can make a positive difference to the crises of our time at every level.

The resurrection life we celebrate is meant to connect us with others and to seek our best, contributing in whatever way we can to a world of grace, peace, justice and love. As we seek to live Christ’s resurrected life together, our care and compassion has the potential to address every crisis, from poverty to climate change. All it takes is vision, hope, courage and faith to follow the movement of the Holy Spirit and the life it brings. 

God’s compassion and desire to restore and invigorate us shines through every moment of the Easter season. The life that resurrection brings cannot be contained. It breaks out wherever it can, and those who seek to live resurrection can only follow where it leads. When we try to contain it or control it, we only end up falling out of step with Christ. Every action, word and thought can be either the reflection of resurrection, or an obstacle to making it visible. The choice is ours. Let us aim to be good shepherds who care for and lay our lives down for those around us.

May the Good Shepherd fill us with life, and inspire us to be good shepherds to others. Amen

Brenda Smith-Keene is the Missouri Conference Spiritual Growth Coordinator. She attends St. James United Methodist Church in Kansas City, where Emmanuel Cleaver III is the senior Pastor.

Posted or updated: 3/29/2019 12:00:00 AM
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