What follows are my thoughts on the lectionary readings alongside some personal thoughts, we are very fortunate to be able to access the URC Sermons on a Sunday in written or Audio format, I think it shows how resilient we are as people, my own thoughts pale into insignificance by comparison, I may also touch on subject matter that I have already spoken about, so I ask for your forgiveness in advance. - Keith Finch
Jesus says, ‘I am the gate’.
Come, and be loved.
Come, and receive peace.
Come, and find life.
This opening prayer comes from Roots, I want to follow that with an extract from “Fresh from the word” written by John Proctor.
So besides being ‘Be Vigilant ‘come two further commands: ‘Be sober’. Sobriety is not just about alcohol. It means not letting our sense and stability be swept away by the heady potions of time, by the myth of celebrity, slogan, prosperity or power. And ‘Be armed’. Not literally. Cary the defenses of faith, hope and love. Let these be the outward face of your character and conduct, and you will not be overcome.
Wise words and quite appropriate for the times we find ourselves in.
John 10: 1-10
“This reading begins with the phrase ‘Jesus said to the Pharisees’. He addresses them because they have been disputing his authority in the previous chapter; they were very suspicious when he healed a man born blind. So we need to hear the opening words of this passage: ‘anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate…’ as both a challenge and a warning to teachers and leaders. When it comes to guiding and caring for people spiritually, Jesus is uncompromising: there are those who approach by the gate and whose voice is recognised by the sheep, and there are those who climb in another way, with the intention of exploiting the sheep by stealing, killing and destroying. The sheep will not follow a stranger, but they recognise the voice of the shepherd. Is this perhaps a reflection on the crowds that follow Jesus, feeling instinctively that his teaching brings them closer to God? Are the people like sheep, allowing the shepherd to guide them to pasture? The Pharisees here will not do anything as simple as listen; they are more fearful of their own authority being usurped than they are thankful that a man has been healed.
In John’s Gospel, the speeches given by Jesus often move in a kind of spiral – they mention an idea, move on to a second idea, and then spiral back to a fuller understanding of the first idea. This speech has that kind of pattern: Jesus moves from the image of entering by the gate to the image that he himself is the gate. He is both the shepherd with a voice that the sheep recognise and the actual gateway in and out between safe pasture and the protection of the sheepfold. When he summarises what he has come to give, he calls it abundant life – a life so full of life that there is some to spare.”
To be continued
Extracts taken from Roots with permission.