Here is Fr. Davids sermon for this weekend: Its Good to Be a - TopicsExpress


Here is Fr. Davids sermon for this weekend: Its Good to Be a Sheep! If you were an animal, what animal would you be? Have you ever taken one of those personality quizzes? You answer a few questions about yourself, then click the mouse or turn the page, and there you have it: if you are reincarnated as an animal, now you know your destiny. I usually come out owl or something like that. Now, I have noticed that there is distinct preference for certain types of animals. You are loyal like a golden retriever! Or, You are fearless like a lion! You are very wise, like an owl! (Sometimes the accuracy of these test is absolutely uncanny) One thing I have noticed however, is that it is rare that you ever have the opportunity to come out as certain life forms. Most quizzes dont offer the option to come out as a cockroach, a slug or a rat! Another animal that seems to be missing: sheep! Websters New World Dictionary defines a sheep as: 1) any of a variety of cud-chewing, bovid mammals. We are familiar with that definition of sheep. However, a second definition is this: a person who is meek, stupid, timid and defenseless. Not really the most flattering thing to say about someone. When we say that someone is like a sheep, it generally is not a compliment. That presents a problem for us, because this is the Fourth Sunday of Easter, which has the unofficial nickname in the church as being Good Shepherd Sunday. In our gospel lesson today, Jesus speaks about the fact that he sees himself as The Good Shepherd. He describes the way in which he leads his flock, namely followers of Jesus Christ. Now, if we are followers of Jesus Christ, and Jesus is the Good Shepherd, what does that make us? You guessed it. Sheep! Now, this would seem to play directly into stereotypes that some people have about Christians: that we are weak, we dont want to take responsibility for our own lives, we are followers by nature. The usual religion is the opiate of the masses criticism. Today, I want to take the opposite view. I believe that Christians have it right. In other words, it is good to be a sheep! It is definitely not baaaaaad! (Sorry about that). Sheep have a leader -- a human shepherd. However, bing a sheep in the flock of Christ is not about following a human leader, it is about following God. Psalm 23 states, The Lord is my shepherd. That means that in our lives, we follow Gods lead for us with the knowledge that God wants the best for us and will provide good things for us. That psalm is from the Old Testament. In the New Testament, God appears in human form in the person of Jesus. In Jesus we come face to face with God, but God in a form that we can really understand and relate to. We know that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, gave himself us for us on the cross for our salvation. Sheep are part of a larger plan. I believe that the world is going somewhere. It started with the creation of the world and the world being corrupted by human sin and death. Jesus came to solve that problem. Jesus will come again to finalize the perfection of creation at some point in the future. We are not spectators to the great events of history, we are part of it. Jesus has a purpose for our lives that ties in to Gods larger purpose for the world. We are part of something larger than ourselves. Jesus called that the Kingdom of God, and while I am mixing metaphors here, we are sheep in Gods kingdom, citizens of Gods flock! (I might have gotten that backwards). Sheep know how to live. As a pastor, I often do counseling with people who are facing dilemmas in their life, wondering how to handle their relationships, their personal lives, their money and their businesses. I am able to advise them, not because I am such a wise, owl-like person, but because I have studied the teachings of Jesus, and I believe that following Christs teachings is the best way to go through life. Many people in the world who arent religious feel that they are fully capable of living their own lives and making their own decisions, and that they are good people, even without being Christians. I am sure that many are good people, who do well when things are going well. When things go badly, however, they often find that they face limitations living by their own code. I believe that trying to live out the teachings of Jesus is the best way to go through life, in good times and in bad. Sheep have lots of other sheep around them. One phrase that I really like to hear is when people talk about my church family. One of the great joys of being a Christian is joining a church, getting to know some complete strangers, and eventually entering deeply into their lives. We live, learn and grow together simply because we all at some point stumbled into the same building, and became part of a community. This is a characteristic of Christianity that many people miss. This includes Christians who feel that they can live their faith lives on their own at home, watching preachers on television or praying alone. Thats better than nothing, but if you are not worshiping and serving with people surrounding you, are are missing out on the joy of going through life in a Christian community. Sheep have help during difficult times. This is another powerful aspect of the Christian life. We have seen this time and time again at Christ Ascension when people have suffered a loss in their lives, have lost their jobs, struggled with their health or have gone through trials. When our community finds out, we respond. As a pastor, my reaction when I hear that someone is struggling is to think that it is my responsibility to help that person. This is only partially correct. It is certainly important for me to be involved as the pastor, but so many of you are active in sending cards, praying for people who are hurting, helping with food or errands. Time and time again, I have seen people in our church who are in crisis be surrounded by the love of this community, this flock. Life gets tough at times and we help each other get through it. Sheep in the flock of Christ are called to be shepherds. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus looks out upon the crowds and has compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. This phrase describes many in our world today. Far from being blind followers, most mature Christians are actively involved in ministry. We are aware that there are people in the world who dont have enough to eat. We know that people are in prison and feel forgotten. We care about the victims of addiction, abuse and poverty. Not only that, we do something about it. Even as a small church, Christ Ascension has many ministries that make a positive impact on our world, and live out the compassion that Jesus showed when he looked upon the lost people of the world. In conclusion, am I a sheep? Yes, I am. A sheep in the flock of Christ! But following the Good Shepherd is, to me, not about being stupid, timid or defenseless. Far from it. As a member of Christs flock, I have not only a leader to follow, but a leader who has a plan top redeem and renew our world for the better. I am surrounded by people who I can teach and who can teach me. I am part of a community that I know will rally around me during the most difficult periods of my life. I also know that I am called to be a shepherd to those who are searching, those who are oppressed, those who are in need. Being a member of the flock of Jesus Christ is for me, the only way to live. So, lets hear it for the sheep! Acts 2:42-47 Psalm 23 1 Peter 2:19-25 John 10:1-10
Posted on: Sun, 11 May 2014 16:12:41 +0000

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