Year C, Easter 4, 2016 – The One with the Sheep
The fourth Sunday in Easter is traditionally Good Shepherd Sunday. I suppose it is appropriate to have Good Shepherd Sunday in the springtime when lambs are born, but if the weather in your part of the world has been unseasonably cool like it has been around here, the lambs are likely waiting for Pentecost to show up! At any rate, the Revelation and John passages have specific mentions of sheep. In John, sheep are those who know they belong to Jesus, and in Revelation, the Lamb’s blood has washed clean the robes of those who came through the ordeal to stand before the throne. In Acts, Tabitha – a woman whose name means “gazelle”- has died, and Peter has the opportunity to exercise the authority given to him by the risen Lord.
Smart of the Week – Word Smart [01:57]
We have mentioned before that Word Smart – or Linguistic Intelligence – has been the dominant means of communicating the word of God to congregations for centuries. Because of this, we tend to downplay word smart in our podcast in order to emphasize the other intelligences. This does not short change word smart though, because words find a way into many of the other smarts by way of discussions, prayers, instructions for movement or meditation, and in music through lyrics. In today’s passages, words are used to call a woman back to life, to sing praise to the lamb of God, and to call sheep into Jesus’ flock.
This Week’s Texts:
Acts 9:36-43 [04:22] – When I was a child, I remember a sewing group in my home church that called themselves the Dorcas Circle. They would sew clothes and make other home apparel and send it to people who needed them. In later years, I discovered that a ministry called Dorcas is not unique to First Presbyterian Church in Aurora, Colorado – nor is it limited to hand made clothing. One would think that the thing Dorcas would be most known for would be that she was raised from the dead by Peter. Rather, it seems that who she was before (and presumably after) that event is what has kept her name alive for two millennia.
- Word [05:24], Eye [06:58], Body [08:07], People [08:56], Self [10:07] smarts
- Acts 9 worksheet
Revelation 7:9-17 [11:54] – This passage is all about the Lamb. Faithful Jews in this time would understand that the lamb is the animal offered up for the Passover feast and whose blood on the lintels of doorways saved the firstborn from God’s angel of death. The first Christians would also understand that the Lamb is Jesus of Nazareth who many proclaimed to be the Messiah. Revelation is a book of hope written for a people who needed to hear they were not forgotten or foolish for following the Way. This passage is a bold claim that the one who was slain is also now the one who will care for the sheep hard pressed by persecution and oppression. We explore just how big the celestial choir may have been using math smarts and look at how liquid water is essential for life on our planet and as a metaphor for life in God.
- Eye [12:58], Math [14:33], Body [16:40], Music [18:40], Nature [19:19], People [21:14] smarts
- Revelation 7 worksheet
John 10:22-30 [22:16] – In the many years I’ve read this passage, I’ve missed the significance of the time of year and of the festival Jesus and his disciples were attending. John says they were in Jerusalem at the temple for the festival of the Dedication. I had always just blasted past that setting while on the way to the dialogue and drama. This festival is what we modern people know as Hanukkah; eight days of celebrating God’s provision and protection. As Jesus is milling about with the people, he is approached by others who want to know if his presence in the temple at the festival is an indication that he is the Messiah – or not. This leads Jesus to teach what kind of messiah he is – not the one who will break through oppression with an army and swords but the one who will guide and protect like a shepherd.
- Word [23:13], Eye [24:11], Body [24:48], Music [26:42], Nature [27:40], People [28:15], Self [29:47] smarts
- John 10 worksheet
… in Acts
… in Revelation
- Counting to a billion
- What’s a googol? Googolplex?
- Bowing in Jewish worship
- Practice of prostration in world religions
- “He Reigns” – The Newsboys
- “Blessing and Honor“
- Hymns (traditional) for Easter C4
- PBS – NOVA “Liquid of Life“
- NASA is following water in the solar system
… in John