This Saturday April 13 at 11:00 AM is the Ordination of our own  Deacon Christopher John Fish to the Priesthood.  Please attend to show Deacon Chris and soon to be Father Chris our support and encouragement and to thank God for His many blessings to us.

Good Shepherd Sunday (Easter II)
Excerpts from a sermon by our late Archbishop  & Rector John T. Cahoon, Jr., given at St. Andrew & St. Margaret of Scotland on Easter II 1997

The usual task of a preacher in an urban or suburban parish on Good Shepherd Sunday is to try to convince the congregation that they have something to learn from sheep. . .  

The economy of Israel's early, wandering-around period was based on sheep-herding. All of the main patriarchs in Genesis and Exodus owned sheep--with the significant exception of Cain, the first murderer.

What the sheep owners noticed about their flocks rapidly became a favorite poetic way of talking about people in general. King David--who tended sheep before he switched to a career in politics--makes the identification in the psalms: "We are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand.” "We are his people and the sheep of his pasture."

The "He" to whom David refers is, of course, God, whom David envisions as the big shepherd of all his sheep-people. His psalms say, "The Lord is my shepherd," "Hear, 0 thou shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock." The shepherd is supposed to lead the sheep, to feed the sheep, and to protect the sheep.

The main problem with sheep is a certain lack of initiative and a marked tendency toward panic. Where we might say, "They are running around like chickens with their heads cut off," the prophets say that God's people are "scattered like sheep without a shepherd." Sheep are inclined to go off on their own if not properly tended. So Isaiah writes, "All we like sheep have gone astray."

In the later Old Testament period God tries to share his shepherding responsibilities with the kings and priests of Israel, but they are not particularly successful at it. So Zechariah writes for God, "Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds...Woe to the idle shepherd that leaveth the flock." And Ezekiel, similarly, "Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?"

But just as his judgment falls on the shepherds of Israel, God holds out the hope that someday he will send Israel better shepherds-- especially one high-quality shepherd--who will lead the flock and take care of it in the right way. So in Ezekiel God says, "I will set up one shepherd over them and he shall feed them, even my servant David, he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd." And in Jeremiah, "I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord."

So we can see that the main thing Jesus is saying in this morning's Gospel is, "I am the one the prophets were talking about--I am the good shepherd. I am not like other shepherds who run away when trouble comes. I stand and face the trouble down, and I am willing to sacrifice my life to save my sheep."

The sheep/shepherd idea is one of the most satisfying and reassuring spiritual images the Bible gives us. How should we apply it? First of all, Christians should be able to expect proper shepherding from their clergy. One of the lessons at the Prayer Book's service for the ordination of a priest is the "I am the Good Shepherd" speech in St. John.

The would-be priest is told to "feed and provide for the Lord's family," and his parishioners are described as, "the sheep of Christ, which he bought with his death, and for whom he shed his blood." A bishop is told, "Be to the flock of Christ a shepherd, not a wolf; feed them, devour them not."

Second, the sheep/shepherd image has something to tell us about our relationships to other people. We all need people to whom we are responsible and for whom we are responsible--people we take care of and who take care of us--people with whom we check in and who check in with us. That is all part of God's plan for shepherding--we can all be to some degree shepherds and sheep to one another.

And, finally, we need to discern the work of the good shepherd in what goes on in the not-specifically-religious parts of our lives. Here again, the 23rd Psalm is our best guide. Are things going as we want them to go? It is the shepherd--"He maketh me to lie down in green pastures/he leadeth me beside the still waters/he restoreth my soul."

If things do not go as we want them to, we need to look at the shepherd again. We see he is keeping us in line with his rod and his staff- -the instruments of control and discipline. So if we trust the shepherd we say, "Thy rod and thy staff comfort me--the hard things strengthen me."

Am I still scared? Well, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me." And what lies behind everything is the Good Shepherd's Easter promise, "Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

He is risen. The Lord is risen indeed.

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Tomorrow, Saturday, April 13, 11:00 AM, Ordination of Fr. Deacon Christopher John Fish to the priesthood, followed by reception in undercroft

Sunday Services, 7:45 AM, 9:00 AM, & 11:15 AM (for online participation for the services go to: )  This Sunday, April 14, Visitation of the Diocesan Bishop, The Right Reverend Donald Lerow with confirmations and reception of new members at 9:00 AM service.

Sunday School, 10:30 AM

Wednesday, 12 noon, Holy Communion and anointing for healing, (for online participation for the service go to: )

Wednesday, 7:30 PM, Bible study with Father Bragg, church undercroft, "The Gospel of Saint Mark in the World of Saint Mark"

Saturday, April 20, MEN'S GROUP, 8:30 AM, breakfast by Chef Extraordinaire Claude Crump, Grits by Fr. Roddy, Bible study by Fr. Bragg.  Great food, Bible study and fellowship

Monday, April 29, Vestry Meeting, 7:30 PM
Updated List of Needs for MaRIH Center (crisis pregnancy center)
MaRIH Center with its all volunteer staff provides help to mothers-to-be and mothers in need.  If you can provide some of the items that are needed, please do so. (You can leave the donations where the food for the food bank is collected on the pew in the undercorft.)

Especially Needed
 In Bold and  * are a critical need.

Diapers (sizes newborn, 1*, 2, 3, 4, 5*, & 6*)
Baby wipes*
Diaper rash ointment
Spring/Summer Clothing: 0-3 month*, 3-6 month*, 2T
Baby shampoo
Baby blankets*
Formula: Simulac Advance Formula*
Formula: other but not recalled
Wash clothes
Hooded towels
Grocery gift cards*

Updated Food Donations
Please help this month with a food donation if you are able. Christ House is very thankful for the food we provide to them each month. Please also buy low sugar cereals (and not the kid's types that have lots of sugar).  Current needs include the following:
• canned meats (chicken, corned beef, spam)
• peanut butter
• jelly
• tuna
• canned vegetables (corn, green beans - (regular and low sodium)
• individual fruit cups (low sugar)
• canned fruit (low sugar)
• boxed cereal (low sugar) and instant or old fashioned oatmeal (18 oz or 42 oz)
• pasta (regular and gluten-free)
• instant potatoes
• Macaroni & cheese kits
Soups: Chunky or Progresso; Chicken broth
• Coffee, cooking oil, flour, sugar
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