The Fourth Sunday of Easter is Good Shepherd Sunday. The lectionary readings every year include the 23rd Psalm and a passage from the tenth chapter of John (verses 1-11 this year) where Jesus talks about the sheep and sheepfold gate and good shepherd. Other passages in the New Testament refer to Jesus as shepherd, and we will hear one of them, I Peter 2:19-25.
Shepherding was a major occupation and a common sight in Biblical times. King David began as a shepherd, which inspired the 23rd Psalm. Shepherding is still present here and there in the fields of Vermont and New Hampshire today, but in our churches it is ever-present. Shepherding is a calling Christians need to reflect on and a skill we need to refine and practice, and not just pastors (although the Latin root of the word pastor means shepherd). Jesus calls each of us to follow him and do the kinds of work he did. We will consider what it means to shepherd the beloved community this Sunday.
We will sing “Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us,” “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling,” and “Let Us Break Bread Together.” The choir will sing “My Shepherd Is the Living God” and “O Brother Man” with words by the poet John Greenleaf Whittier set to music by J. Robertson. Organist John Atwood will play pieces by Pachelbel and L.-N. Clerambault.