AS we gather, let us pray: (prayer source)

Holy Shepherd,
you know your sheep by name
and lead us to safety through the valleys of death.
Guide us by your voice,
that we may walk in certainty and security
to the joyous feast prepared in your house,
were we celebrate with you forever. Amen.

Here we are, the annual discussion of sheep and shepherds.  I mean I get how it is a helpful (to some anyway) image but do we REALLY have to read about the Good Shepherd (in conjunction with Psalm 23) every single year?  Was it THAT important to the RCL designers?


At any rate, the readings for Easter 4A can be found here.


If one wants to ignore the Shepherd (all we like sheep have gone astray???) you could choose to look at the somewhat utopian vision of community we find in the Acts passage.  Mind you it makes a better story when you include the passages from Acts which describe how this utopian plan did not quite work out as well as this section suggests…

Or we have Psalm 23.  Since so often we hear this at a funeral it might be worth exploring it outside of that context.

Or then there is the Epistle.  This year we are working through 1 Peter.  Have I ever preached on 1 Peter?  Have I ever read 1 Peter?

And finally there is the Gospel.  Gates and gatekeepers this year.  Gates are good (also the weakest point in a wall), but then I remember childhood friends who always thought the way to the other side of a fence had nothing to do with the gate–no matter whose voice they heard.

Good Shepherd

So where are you headed this week?  Are you feeling sheepish?   Can you totally ignore Mother’s Day in your worship service?  Or is Mother’s Day expected to be the focus of your worship service?  Share your angst, wisdom, questions and resources in the comments….

12 thoughts on “RCL LEanings: Good Shepherd AGAIN? edition

  1. Definitely tired of sheep, though I do have a nice picture for the bulletin cover. I’m thinking abundant life–extraordinary life– not just for ourselves but for everyone– and communal living and how hard that would be in reality. Word on the street is that the choir is going above and beyond its usual level of schmaltz this week for Mother’s Day. And that usual level is pretty high. Would love to cut into that a bit with a challenging, non-mothers-day-ish, yet still short sermon.


  2. since we are also recognizing graduating seniors, I’m going with the steadfast shepherd in the context of Leonard Sweet’s “God Positioning System” from The Well-Played Life. God’s plan: I’ve got you covered. Not sure how that will work out exactly, but that’s the plan. Might have a Mother’s Day video, but that’s it.


  3. I rarely do much for Mother’s Day in worship. But last year I wrote a Prayers of the People for Mother’s Day. In case folks find it helpful here it is:

    If I were writing it this year I would include something about mother’s whose children are taken from them (thinking of Nigeria as it is in the news but also all those other places and times than never make the news)


  4. thinking about how we hear God’s voice. I may hearken back/forward to Mary in the garden hearing Jesus call her by name. Mother’s Day may show up in the prayer, if it’s lucky.


  5. Hi there Gord! And all… So I’m skipping John in favor of Acts with Psalm 23 as we move toward some big decisions as a congregation. Just realized how interesting the acts and the psalm are together – a sort of “what we are doing and what God is doing litany.” See what I mean? I changed the pronoun of the psalm…

    ACTS 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

    The LORD is our shepherd, we shall not want.

    ACTS 2:43 Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles.

    He makes us lie down in green pastures; he leads us beside still waters; he restores our souls. He leads us in right paths for his name’s sake.

    ACTS 2:44 All who believed were together and had all things in common;

    ACTS 2:45 they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.

    Even though we walk through the darkest valley, we fear no evil; for you are with us; your rod and your staff– they comfort us.

    ACTS 2:46 Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people.

    You prepare a table before us in the presence of our enemies; you anoint our heads with oil; our cups overflow.

    ACTS 2:47 And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives, and we shall dwell in the house of the LORD our whole lives long.


  6. this week i am planning on going with the Gospel, thinking about gatekeepers, or maybe school crossing people – here they are called lollipop men and women, because the sign they hold looks like a giant lollipop.
    the following week i am away at a seminar and the Sunday is our AGM, and i am thinking of using this weeks Acts reading, or ‘borrowing’ Jennifers idea of interleaving Acts and Psalm 23. i think it would work for our annual meeting, which are putting in the middle of worship rather than at the end. yes, it is a bit like locking the doors so no-one leaves 🙂


  7. i am thinkign of inlcuding this next week when we look at ACts and Psalm 23 form this weeks lectionary. it is our annual congregaiton meeting and I wnat to make ti fiun and intersteting.
    from re:worship website.

    Here’s an upbeat paraphrase of the 23rd psalm, written by Frank Burch Brown (as a parody, I think!). The paraphrase can be sung to the tune of “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

    I believe Burch Brown meant it as an extreme example of how not to match texts and tunes, but speaking as a mother, I think I would have happily used it with my children when they were young!

    Psalm 23 Paraphrase
    (suggested tune: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer)

    I know the Lord’s my shepherd;
    I won’t ever need a thing.
    He gives me grass that’s greenest;
    takes me to the coolest spring.

    When I am sad he cheers me;
    when I’m bad he makes me good.
    Wherever he will lead me,
    I will follow as I should.

    Though I walk through deep valleys
    dark as death and sin,
    nothing there can frighten me;
    with your staff you’re my true friend.

    People can see I’m fed well;
    I could hardly ask for more.
    I’m going to stay forever
    with the one who’s really Lord!

    —written by Frank Burch Brown
    posted on Sunrise on the Marsh.

    For more paraphrases of Psalm 23,
    click on Psalm 23 in the list of “Labels”
    at the lower right side of the page.

    For more worship resources for Good Shepherd Sunday,
    (the fourth Sunday of Easter),
    click on Easter 4 at the right side of the page.


We hope you'll join the conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.