The Constancy of the Good Shepherd

Sermon Summary for Sunday, April 22nd, 2018 | Respectfully Submitted by Mal Underwood

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In the Gospel of John Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  .  . I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.”

Mo. Mary tells us that the steadfast love of God for his children is a constancy of life we are to embrace and trust as we share that same love and constancy for those around us. She shared several stories of the constancy of love:

·         Pastor James of Crosspoint Church recently delivered a message of the constancy of our mutual efforts and presence to feed those in the community who are hungry. That effort has begun to produce relationships and trust whereby the needy can find comfort and relief.

·         A panicked woman about to give birth who was threatening self-harm was attended by a nurse midwife who vowed to be with her through the delivery and was her constant rock in the storm of her misgivings.

·         Sister Helen Prejean was a nun whose mission was to minister to inmates on death row as they awaited execution. She was their companion, consolation and constant face of love to the very end.

This constancy of love is of God, similar to the scriptural term “steadfast” as in God’s steadfast love for us. As we worship and serve God, constancy is an important factor in the success of our work in the kingdom.

A passage in Psalm 23 says that “surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the Lord’s house forever.” These are some of the most beautiful and comforting words we find in the scripture. Some biblical scholars say the original Hebrew word for “follow” can be translated to pursue or chase down, and the word for “surely” can translate to only. So this beautiful passage might be read as “only goodness and mercy shall chase me down all the days of my life.” This version may not be as poetic in its reading, but it does have a more dramatic tone. Either way, we should rejoice that our loving Good Shepherd will pursue us with his grace and mercy all the days of our lives.

The seven weeks of Easter is the longest season of our calendar year. This serves us to study and learn how God abides with us, pursues us, and grants us grace and mercy through his steadfast love. In return, we are to reflect that grace and mercy in the world as his servants to those whom he gives us the opportunity to bless in his name.