First thoughts on the lectionary passages for Sunday, April 17 (Fourth Sunday of Easter):
Acts 2:42-47 this is a Pentecost passage. The people were happy and sharing their bread. All possessions were shared. Except for notable experiments in "shared living", we Westerners read this passage and start shouting about communism. Of course, communism meant forcibly shared with inequity, while this passage is one of happiness where the fervor of Life in the Lord overflowed in making sure everyone had what they needed, with "glad and generous hearts". Impressive.
Psalm 23: I've heard 2k sermons on this text and do not tire of it. My favorite translation of the first line is: "the Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need." Will use this as the responsive reading, most likely. Here, as in the Acts text, need is being met.
IPeter2:19-25 The downtrodden are reminded that just because one is mistreated, one doesn't respond with mistreatment. Not just an ethical ideal but a response to following the One who
"suffered, he did not threaten." Christ "entrusted himself to the one who judges justly." Ah, the idea of trust. Who do we trust with our lives? "By his wounds you have been healed (2:24b)" See reference to shepherd and being returned to the fold.
John 10:1-10 Need to explain gates, sheepfolds and sheep recognizing the shepherd's voice. See chapter 9 to understand who Jesus is talking with when he uses this shepherd metaphor. Lovely passage. Pulls together shepherd images of other passages but flips the Pharisee's understanding of shepherds (ew, yuk! stinky lowlifes!) over to show the shepherd's protection. Ultimate protection of sheep.