The Jesus Flock, April 21, 2013

Title:The Jesus Flock, April 21, 2013

Easter 4 , April 21 / Earthday April 22, 2013  (full size gallery)

A small service of 35 on a crack jack beautful spring day, slightly cool. Brilliant sunshine, a day before Earth day. We had our own earth day. Over the last week the sycamore leaves were out, the dogwoods fully expanded and new flowers appeared – lobelia,  dianthus, Iris, and one unknown purple flower. A great time to walk around our garden.

We had our first of two Christian eds on climate change featuring the National Geographic movie "Six Degrees of Change." The focus was on how we need a fundamental change in our use of energy or risk advance global warming through the accumulatio of C02 and other greenhouse gases.  His points:

1. Average global temperatures have risen 1 degree with most in the last 40 years

2. 1-6 degree increase is possible over the next century. The last time the temperature changed 6 degrees was when England plunged 6 degrees 18,000 years ago in the last ice age

3. It’s not just a temperature change but a vast change in the way that world works. Global warming is playing out in terms of decades, rather 1,000 or millions of years. The rate of change now is unprecedented.  

Next week we will discuss the movie and how we can reduce our carbon foot print. Here is a summary of the movie.

The service had tones of God role’s of creation with the Eucharistic prayer C.  This is appropriate for the Easter season with the idea of resurrection and new life as well as the focus on the Earth during Earth Day on April 22.

In Deuteronomy the focus is on the covenant and the land is part of it.  The Israelites couldn’t do well unless they maintained the land. It was the source of life and prosperity. The soil was thin and easily eroded. The rain was sparse and came in the winter, the wrong time of year.

God created this. But the Israelites abused God’s hospitality by living in ways that were unjust, ways contrary to Torah, ways that desecrated the land. Time and again God offered to forgive the people if they would only repent and live faithfully.  Man due to his actions is in need of redemption. God  In the Bible redemption and creation are closely tied together, for the God who saves is the very God who creates.

Eucharistic Prayer C continues:

"At your command all things came to be: the vast expanse of
interstellar space, galaxies, suns, the planets in their courses,
and this fragile earth, our island home.
By your will they were created and have their being.

"From the primal elements you brought forth the human race,
and blessed us with memory, reason, and skill. You made us
the rulers of creation. But we turned against you, and betrayed
your trust; and we turned against one another.
Have mercy, Lord, for we are sinners in your sight.

"Again and again, you called us to return. Through prophets
and sages you revealed your righteous Law. And in the
fullness of time you sent your only Son, born of a woman, to
fulfill your Law, to open for us the way of freedom and peace.
By his blood, he reconciled us.
By his wounds, we are healed.

The sermon focused on our role as well as "Agents of the Resurrection" as part of new life and in response to the Resurrection. The bulletin is here and the readings.

The concept of the Shepherd is in the Psalm, Revelation and John’s reading in the Gospel. This image is key to his identity.  We see different aspects of being the Shepherd

Jesus declaring that he knows all who follow him and they know him for who he is. Here are two marks to being part of Jesus’ flock: hearing his voice and following him. The folks who are once again pestering him about his identity are not part of this flock. Yes, those who believe in him are part of his flock and follow him. And, at the same time, those who are following him are more likely to believe in him and identify as part of his flock.  

In Revelation,  the “Lamb” (Christ) is the only one worthy to open a scroll perfectly sealed with seven seals (5:4-9), containing God’s plans for the end-time.   Jesus is seen here as protector from war, famine, natural catastrophes. In Chapter 7,  Christians and Jews, have been marked with God’s seal, protection from the destruction to come. The second vision, our reading, tells us that Christians will survive the troubles.   

In Pslam 23, the Shepherd protects us, nourishes us and comforts us. "I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever"

The sermon emphasized that we were to be part of the flock by being Agents of God’s Resurrection

"So here’s the take home from today’s scriptures—to be powerful agents of God’s resurrection for the world—a recap of the guidance our lectionary passages provide for us today.  

"First, want for nothing but God.  

"Second, putting away all distractions, spend some time in praye with God each day, listening for God’s voice, and soaking up God’s power. Use God’s Positioning System.

"Third, live as people of praise.

"And finally, as we walk through our days knowing that God desires to pour out goodness and mercy on us, we then do all we can to share God’s goodness and mercy with the world as followers of our risen Lord and as Agents of the Resurrection.

"So, in the end, what difference has the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ really made in this world where violence seems to be inevitable?  

"How we live as followers of our risen Lord and Savior makes the difference–God’s mercy and goodness, God’s healing and redemptive love, poured out through us.   

We dedicated a dogwood tree given by the Heimbachs after the regular service. Here is the service of dedication 


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