|Proper 9, Sixth Sunday After Pentecost||July 8, 2012||Sermon, Proper 9, Year B||2 Corinthians 12:2-10, Mark 6:1-13|
|Proper 8, Fifth Sunday After Pentecost||July 1, 2012||Sermon, Proper 8, Year B||Lamentations 3:21-33; Wisdom of Solomon 1:13-15; 2:23-24; Mark 5:21-43|
|Proper 7, Fourth Sunday in Pentecost||June 24, 2012||Sermon, Proper 7, Year B||Job 38:1-11, Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32; Mark 4:35-41|
|Proper 5, Second Sunday in Pentecost||June 10, 2012||Sermon, Proper 5, Year B (Second Sunday of Pentecost)||Psalm 130, 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1|
|Trinity Sunday, Year B||June 3, 2012||Trinity Sunday, Year B||Isaiah 6:1-8; Ps 29; Romans 8:12-17;John 3:1-17|
|Day of Pentecost, Year B||May 27, 2012||Day of Pentecost, Year B||Acts 2:1-21; Romans 8:22-27; John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15|
|Sixth Sunday in Easter, Year B||May 13, 2012||Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year B||Psalm 98, 1 John 5:1-6; John 15:9-17|
|Fifth Sunday in Easter, Year B||May 6, 2012||Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year B||Acts 8:26-40; Psalm 22:24-30; I John 4:7-21; John 15:1-8|
|➤Fourth Sunday in Easter, Year B||April 29, 2012||Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year B||Psalm 23, 1 John 3:16-24, John 10:11-18|
|Third Sunday in Easter, Year B||April 22, 2012||Second Sunday of Easter, Year B||Luke 24:36b-48|
|Second Sunday in Easter, Year B||April 15, 2012||Second Sunday of Easter, Year B||John 20:19-31|
|Easter, April 8, 2012||April 8, 2012||Sermon, Easter Sunday, Year B||Mark 16:1-8|
|Good Friday, April 6, 2012||April 6, 2012||Good Friday||John 18:1-19:42|
|Maundy Thursday, April 5, 2012||April 5, 2012||Maundy Thursday||John 13:1-35|
|Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year B||March 25, 2012||Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year B||John 12:20-33|
Fourth Sunday in Easter, Year B
Sermon Date:April 29, 2012
Scripture: Psalm 23, 1 John 3:16-24, John 10:11-18
Liturgy Calendar: Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year B
In the gospel according to John, Jesus describes himself in many ways.
I AM bread, I AM manna, I AM light, I AM the door, I AM resurrection and life, I AM the way, truth and life, I AM the vine, I AM.
I AM the good shepherd.
The good shepherd is the one who lays down his life for the sheep, the one who never runs away, the one who will bring every one into his fold, so that there will be one flock, and one shepherd.
And within John’s words echo the words of the 23rd Psalm, some of the most familiar words from scripture in the English language.
This good shepherd provides for our needs, revives us, guides us, accompanies us through the shadowy places in our lives, disciplines us, comforts us, sets a table for us, and anoints us with his goodness and his mercy.
The 23rd Psalm presents the perfect description of Jesus for those of us who listen to his voice, and who belong to his flock.
Now I’d like to propose another I AM for Jesus.
I AM the bridge.
If you’ve ever been in the chapel on the second floor of Mary Washington Hospital, you may recall that the entire front wall of the chapel is stained glass, a scene from nature done in restful greens and blues. In the center of the scene is a bridge that leads the eye off into the distance.
For those who come to the chapel to pray for someone who is dying, this scene offers consolation, even in the midst of grief. The viewer might imagine their loved one walking through this scene, across the bridge, and off into the distance, continuing farther into this place of peace and rest than the viewer can see or follow.
Jesus is like that for us– a bridge between this life and the next.
The voice of Jesus never changes—Jesus calls us now, and someday, each one of us will hear that familiar and loving voice calling us across the bridge that carries us over the valley of the shadow of death into new life. Jesus laid down his own life to become the bridge under our feet—as we sang last week,
“Christ before us, Christ behind us, Christ under our feet….” The bridge under our feet—this is the bridge under our feet that we can cross over without fear even though we cannot yet see the other side.
Jesus is also the bridge that connects each one of us with the other. When we listen to his voice, we hear his voice telling us to love one another.
When we love one another, not in word or speech, but in truth and action—we are crossing over the bridge that is Jesus—into the hearts of one another. And when we do this, we abide in him, and he in us, and we abide in one another. “Christ within us, Christ over us, let all around us be Christ…”
I AM the bridge. Every bridge offers passage in both directions, and when we choose Jesus as our bridge, and lovingly enter into the presence of another, the relationship we have with that person is hallowed for all time and eternity.
And so, even though we cannot see the destination across the bridge that those we love travel as they cross over the valley of the shadow of death, we know that they are still in the one flock in which we abide. They have entered into the communion of saints, and they aren’t far away at all.
They are still free to come back across that bridge who is Jesus and lovingly enter into our presence time and time again, in merciful and sustaining ways that we could not have imagined when we loved them in this lifetime.
And whenever we gather at this table, the table that the good shepherd prepares for us, whenever we gather around this altar to eat bread and drink wine together, we join with those who have crossed that bridge before us, for they return to share with us in this heavenly banquet.
Our good shepherd, the One who provides for our needs, the One who revives us, the One who guides us, the One who accompanies us through the shadowy places in our lives, the One who disciplines us, the One who comforts us, the One who sets a table for us, the One who anoints us with his goodness and his mercy in this lifetime is also the One who is the bridge–
the bridge over which we pass back and forth into our dwelling place in the house of the Lord in this lifetime, and where we will someday come to rest with all those we love in the care our good shepherd throughout all eternity.