A digital version of this week’s bulletin and sermon.

Gathering

PRELUDE

CONGREGATIONAL WELCOME

A BRIEF LITANY OF GOD’S ACTS

Gathering Song         “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today; Alleluia!”        red book # 369

GREETING

KYRIE                                                         red book page 98 (set 1)

Canticle of Praise                                    red book page 101(set 1)

PRAYER of the DAY

Word

ACTS 2:42-47

PSALM 23

1 PETER 2:19-25

JOHN 10:1-10                                                            

SERMON                                                                           Pastor Chris Halverson

Gates and Shepherds

Take a moment to take a breath.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Isn’t it funny, a breath isn’t actually one thing. It isn’t just pulling air into your lungs, but also pushing it back out. It is a whole movement.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

In and out.

And today, as we consider Shepherds and Gates, I want you to remember that—in and out. Breathe in. Breathe out.

Let us pray,

We read John’s description of Jesus as a Shepherd and a Gate. Each of these has a whole movement to it—in and out. Breathe in. Breathe out.

The Lord is my shepherd, and I shall not want…

A shepherd.

He lies me down and he leads me.

He restores and guides me on right paths.

He comforts and he goes with me.

He makes me to dwell and he causes goodness and mercy to follow me.

In and out. In and out.

The Shepherd gathers me in for the night, so that I can rest in safety, and the Shepherd’s voice calls me out to find nourishment and fulfillment.

Likewise a good gate keeps those inside safe, but allows them out when need be…

In and out.

Of course describing Jesus as a Gate has some problems:

-we conjure up images cartoons containing St. Peter at the pearly gates deciding whether to let us in.

-we think of insistences in our life where someone has acted as a gatekeeper, where people have been unjustly excluded.

-we think of the story told immediately before today’s readings—how the Blind Man is healed by Jesus and then the religious folk cast him out of his town for calling Jesus a prophet. They act as a gate that has kept out someone who Jesus had just let in…

In fact, this 10th chapter of John is a commentary on that story—Jesus calls the blind man, and he hears, and follows the Good Shepherd’s voice.

He talks with the Pharisees, but their voice is that of a stranger, and they exclude him.

But the Good Shepherd brings him into the fold, he is able to come in and go out—entering into an abundant life with Jesus.

Abundant life… sometimes such words call our mind to jewels and jet skis, bills raining green and our wildest dreams coming true.

But the Blind Man receives Abundant life—sight and life with Jesus.

Or, at the start of John’s Gospel—Empty wine jars filled at that wedding at Cana, revealing who Jesus is—Abundant life.

A Samaritan Woman abandoned at a well welcoming Jesus and the interplay there—Abundant life.

A paralyzed man at the pool of Bethsaida made well by Jesus—Abundant Life.

Five thousand without food, fed with five basic bread rolls and two sardines and generous words by Jesus—Abundant life.

A woman caught in adultery, condemned to die, Jesus stands with her and her life is saved—Abundant life.

Lazarus dead in the grave, wept over by Jesus and then called out into life again—Abundant life.

For those of you who suffer with allergies you probably had a hard time breathing in, and breathing out—right? You knew what breath was by your lack of a whole breathe.

So too, grave, blindness, condemnation to death, hunger, paralysis, isolation—all those things that are not an abundant life—show forth so clearly the Abundant Life Jesus gives to us.

An abundant life—one with Sabbath Rest, a time truly good, and truly for nothing—a space simply to be. Breath in.

An abundant life—one that is a call to discipleship—following after our Lord, wherever that might lead. Breath out.

A life of teaching, fellowship, bread to share, and prayer. IN.

A life of ministering to neighbor’s need and preaching the Gospel by all means. OUT.

The fullness of this flock—our relationship with Jesus transforming everything—even our very breath.

Nicole, in your baptism you will be joining this flock

—entering into the deep and abiding in and out movement of the faith, the safety of the Gate and the Journey with Jesus.

An abundant life is on offer. Jesus came that you may have life, and have it abundantly.

HYMN of the DAY                 “Savior, like a Shepherd Lead Us”                red book # 789

BAPTISM

PRAYERS of INTERCESSION

PEACE                                                            

Meal

OFFERING

OFFERTORY ANTHEM                “The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want”

GREAT THANKSGIVING

A MOMENT OF THANKFUL REFLECTION

LORD’S PRAYER

COMMUNION SONGS

Also, “Let There Be Peace On Earth”, red book # 484, red book # 361

Sending

Blessing

ANNOUNCEMENTS

SENDING SONG           “I Know that My Redeemer Lives!”           red book # 619

DISMISSAL

POSTLUDE

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