Acts 9:36-43. Peter raises Tabitha of Joppa which brings many people to faith.
Psalm 23. David’s famous Psalm of thanksgiving, praise and confidence in God for the gift of life.
Revelation 7:9-17. The hosts of heaven praise God, and the martyrs rejoice in the God who is their Shepherd.
John 10:22-30. Jesus speaks of himself as the Shepherd of his followers who are the sheep he cares for, and who know his voice.
Rev Tania writes:
Christ is Risen, Alleluia! He is Risen, indeed, Alleluia!
The season of resurrection continues, and this week is brought together with the ‘Shepherd’ metaphor, which appears in three of the four readings.
The two underlying messages that emerge appear to be: 1) In Christ life is to be found even in the face of death – from Peter’s raising of Tabitha, to the Psalmist’s confidence of travelling through the valley of the shadow of death to finally dwell in God’s house, to the heavenly gathering of those who have died as martyrs in the persecution of the church, to Jesus’ promise that his sheep receive eternal life from him, this message is clear.
2) The Shepherd is also a messianic, and a subversive, image. Where the leaders of Israel had failed to be faithful shepherds, and where the Roman Empire had slaughtered followers (sheep) of Christ, Jesus stands as the one who has died but has risen – defying the death-dealing powers that be, and winning life and security for his sheep.
This week, then, we are called to embrace the life of Christ which defies death, and which subverts all the forces of evil and Empire that robs us of life, and we are called to be “good shepherds” in the way of Jesus who bring life to those under our care.
There is comfort here for all who are wrestling with the forces of death, however big or small, in their lives.
May you continue to know the life of Easter in your worship this week.
Blessings of New Life this Easter Season, Rev Tania