|Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year C||April 7, 2019||Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year C||John 12:1-8|
|Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year C||March 31, 2019||Fourth Sunday of Lent, Year C 2019||Joshua 5:9-12;Psalm 32; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21; Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32|
|Third Sunday in Lent, Year C||March 24, 2019||Third Sunday in Lent, Year C||Luke 13:1-9|
|Second Sunday in Lent, Year C||March 17, 2019||Second Sunday in Lent, Year C||Luke 13:31-35,Philippians 3:17-4:1|
|First Sunday in Lent, Year C||March 10, 2019||First Sunday in Lent, Year C||Luke 4:1-13|
|Ash Wednesday, March 6, 2019||March 6, 2019||Ash Wednesday||Isaiah 58:1-12|
|Last Epiphany, March 3, 2019 – Rev. Mark Jefferson||March 3, 2019||Last Epiphany, Year C||Luke 9:28-36, [37-43a]|
|Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C||February 24, 2019||Seventh Sunday after Epiphany, Year C||Genesis 45:3-11, 15; 1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-50; Luke 6:27-38|
|Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C – “Be a Blessing”||February 17, 2019||Sixth Sunday after Epiphany, Year C 2019||I Corinthians 15:12-20, Luke 6:17-26|
|Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C||February 10, 2019||Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C||Luke 5:1-11|
|Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C||February 3, 2019||Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C||Jeremiah 1:4-10, Psalm 71:1-6, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, Luke 4:21-30|
|Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C||January 27, 2019||Third Sunday after Epiphany||Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10 1; Corinthians 12:12-31a;Luke 4:14-21|
|Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C||January 20, 2019||Second Sunday after the Epiphany||John 2:1-11|
|First Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C||January 13, 2019||First Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C||Isaiah 43:1-7, Luke 3:15-17, 21-22|
|The Epiphany||January 6, 2019||The Epiphany, Year C||Matthew 2:1-12|
Easter 4, Year B
Sermon Date:April 22, 2018
Scripture: Psalm 23, Acts 4:5-12, 1 John 3:16-24, John 10:11-18
Liturgy Calendar: The Fourth Sunday in Easter, Year B
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want.”
Saints and sinners, we all belong to God.
And what a God!
God is our provider. God is our protector. God is the one who goes with us through the roughest places in life. God welcomes us to God’s table, a table where everyone, no exceptions, is welcome.
Jesus, God’s Son, lives in such a deep loving relationship with God that God and Jesus are as One.
Jesus brought all these gifts of God to life for those around him and continues, even now, to bring provision, protection, companionship, comfort and welcome to each one of us.
In fact, Jesus was so serious about making these life giving gifts of God not only visible but also available to all people for all time that he willingly laid down his life on our behalf, and then took it up again so that we might all have unending resurrection lives, beginning here and now.
Jesus has given even those of us who have made a mess of things, those of us who’ve made big mistakes, have nagging regrets, a new start and resurrection life, here and now through his sacrificial love on the cross on our behalf.
That’s what shepherds do—they will even die to preserve the lives of their sheep.
To put it simply, God is love.
How could we ever respond to such a love?
Our response starts with the belief that Jesus Christ is Lord, claiming Jesus as our shepherd, and then following him.
In fact, only our belief in Jesus and in God’s love for us makes it possible for us to love ourselves and one another as God has loved us.
Only by claiming and following Jesus can we respond to God’s love as deeply and as fully as we can.
Love is hard work.
Love takes determination.
Love takes courage.
But by trying our best, even imperfectly, to love ourselves and one another as God loves us, the realization comes upon us like the sun rising in the morning, over and over, that in the end, the first and foremost way that we give glory to God and enjoy God forever is to love one another.
By loving one another, then we live in Jesus, and Jesus lives in us.
We know that Jesus is living in us because Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit to go with us especially in the rough and challenging times in our lives, when the way of love appears to be completely blocked, or too dangerous, or too damaged to attempt, or when we think that we’ve failed too often and too badly to move forward.
The love that Jesus had for Peter resurrected Peter from a whole pile of bad mistakes as a disciple, the worst being that he denied Jesus three times on the night Jesus was betrayed.
The resurrected Jesus said to Peter, the past over and forgiven, “Now Peter, if you love me, feed my lambs and tend my sheep.”
In today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles, through the power of the Holy Spirit, Peter and John heal a man and find themselves facing the Sanhedrin, the powerful group that has recently sent Jesus to his death.
Their lives are at risk. And yet, in front of all these powerful people, Peter has the courage and the audacity to claim whose he is and who has given him the power to act—Jesus of Nazareth, the very one you people in power crucified, but God overruled you, and raised Jesus from the dead.
Peter had the courage to say to those men who thought they had power, that the very person of Jesus is the only power, that Jesus is our foundation, the only way to salvation, the only person who makes God’s love completely possible in this world.
And the power of the Holy Spirit can give us the courage to love, even when we must put our lives at risk to do so.
Who do you belong to? (Silence)
The psalmist tells us that God’s goodness and mercy pursue us all the days of our lives.
So may this be our prayer today and always.
God, give us the grace to stop running and to turn to you.
Give us the courage to claim you, in name, and in truth and in action, as our Lord and Savior.
Give us the strength to love one another as you have loved us,
And may we enter the joy of abiding with you, in love, for ever. Amen.