Week of 4 Epiphany: Saturday, Year 1   16 comments

Above:  Logo of the Moravian Church

Jesus:  Shepherd and Lamb

FEBRUARY 4, 2017

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Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), of The Episcopal Church, contains an adapted two-years weekday lectionary for the Epiphany and Ordinary Time seasons from the Anglican Church of Canada.  I invite you to follow it with me.

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Hebrews 13:9-25 (Revised Standard Version–Second Catholic Edition):

Do not be led astray by diverse and strange teachings; for it is well that the heart be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited their adherents.  We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat.  For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought for sin are burned outside the camp.  So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.  Therefore let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing abuse for him.  For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come.  Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.  Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Obey your leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account.  Let them do this joyfully, and not sadly, for what would be of no advantage to you.

Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things.  I urge you the more earnestly to do this in order that I may be restored to you the sooner.

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in you that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.  Amen.

I appeal to you, brethren, bear with my word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly.  You should understand that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom I shall see you if he comes soon.  Greet all your leaders and all the saints.  Those who come from Italy send you greetings.  Grace be with all of you.  Amen.

Psalm 23 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

1 The LORD is my shepherd;

I shall not be in want.

2 He makes me lie in green pastures

and leads me beside still waters.

3 He revives my soul

and guides me along right pathways for his Name’s sake.

4 Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I shall fear no evil;

for you are with me;

your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

5 You spread a table before me in the presence of those who trouble me;

you have anointed my head with oil,

and my cup is running over.

6 Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Mark 6:30-34 (Revised Standard Version–Second Catholic Edition):

The apostles returned to Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught.  And he said to them,

Come away by yourselves to a quiet place, and rest a while.

For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.  And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves.  Now many saw them going, and knew them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns, and got there ahead of them.  As he landed he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

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The Collect:

Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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A shepherd is  a shepherd only if there are sheep to guard and lead.

The imagery of sheep and shepherds runs throughout the Old and New Testaments.  Various groups of people–royal subjects, people in front of Jesus, et cetera–filled the role of sheep, depending on the text in question.  Depending on the passage of Scripture one considers, the shepherd was God, a king, or Jesus.  And some shepherds neglected their flocks.  Jesus, we read, is the Good Shepherd.  And he is, indeed.

We, as sheep, need a shepherd to protect us from ourselves, for we want to wander off to dangerous places.  Despite what we like to think about ourselves, we are not always the brightest crayons in the box.  Dealing with this issue effectively begins with recognizing the truth about ourselves and how much we need God, specifically in the form of Jesus.  May we acknowledge our shepherd and follow his lead.

Yet Jesus is also the victorious and worthy sacrificial lamb.  Members of the Church Triumphant wash their robes in his blood, and their robes become white. This poetic image communicates a great truth regarding atonement.  So, as the logo of the Moravian Church encourages us, may we follow the lamb.  Considering what he sacrificed and why he did it, we should reciprocate in love, devotion, and gratitude.

KRT

Written on June 20, 2010

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16 responses to “Week of 4 Epiphany: Saturday, Year 1

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