Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year B
O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people; Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”
For the next several weeks of Eastertide, we are using a group bible study format for Faith from the Margins to the Web which rotates facilitators for each week’s Gospel. For each of the following weeks in Easter season we will feature highlights from the group gathered that illustrate each week’s Gospel lesson. People who had participated in a previous interview were invited to become the group facilitators, and that core group added new participants for each lesson. We’ll hear the Gospel from the perspective of this group for the next three weeks.
Group participants for Easter 4, Easter 5, and Easter 6: Willie. Christina, Kaiju, Paul, William, Jamillah, Angela, Leroy and David.
The group began to talk together about this Gospel lesson of Jesus, the Good Shepherd:
“Jesus says he’s the Good Shepherd; that’s like doing everything for us. I’m thinking about what a shepherd might look like now: I’m thinking leadership, guidance, the way that someone needs to lead the flock.”
“Shepherds are there, the good times and the bad times…you know, the flock doesn’t always do what they are supposed to do, but the shepherd doesn’t leave them.”
“Some people have problems because they can’t see God, or touch God. But, I wonder if the sheep really know the shepherd is there until something happens. Then he’s right there, pulling them out of danger. And you know, we don’t want to have faith if we can’t see it. But I believe that we have someone there, when we could have been lost or under the dirt. I think when you’ve done that you know how important a shepherd is.”
“I’ve been pretty fortunate. I look at the kids these days that feel like they have to work and to go to school. I was lucky; my brother played professional basketball and he paid for me, paid my way to college. I think of him as a good shepherd”
“And I think of my Dad as a good shepherd. He had rules and was strict, but it was always for a reason and to protect us. I appreciate that now. He was a good man. I lost him back in ‘97, but I still hear his voice, his words. I try to be that way now, too, with my own children”
“You know, I think it’s about looking out for others; shepherds see a need. Like today, I just saw someone who needed help with his lunch tray. Maybe if I wasn’t looking or paying attention I would have just walked on by. But something told me to keep an eye out, and I was able to help him.”
“I’m thinking in these stories that we’re sharing, it seems like we are learning how to take care of the flock from other people who have shepherded us. Maybe it’s like that with Jesus, too. If Jesus loves us enough to give his life for us, it teaches us how to live into that love and look out for other people. When we do that, other people notice and we realize how much others have looked out for us. It’s like these stories are here to remind us how to shepherd each other, like our Good Shepherd. We’re like shepherds to each other.”