3rd Sunday in Easter: Misericordias Domini (Good Shepherd Sunday)

 

Watchword from the gospel of the apostle and evangelist St. John 10:11a; 10:27-28: Jesus Christ says: “I am the good shepherd…My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.”

Introit from Psalm 23 

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

God’s Holy Word from the prophet Ezekiel the thirty-fourth chapter The word of the LORD came to me:  2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock?  3 You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock.  4 You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally.  5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals.  6 My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them.  7 “‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:  8 As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock,  9 therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:  10 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them.  11 “‘For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them.  12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.  13 I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land.  14 I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel.  15 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD.  16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice…31 You my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are people, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign LORD.'” (1-16.31)

The Epistle from the first letter of the apostle St. Peter the second chapter: Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.  22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”  23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.  24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.  25 For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (21b-25)

The Holy Gospel according to the apostle and evangelist St. John the tenth chapter “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  12 The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.  13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.  14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me–  15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father– and I lay down my life for the sheep.  16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd… 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.  29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.  30 I and the Father are one.  (11-16.27-30)

The liturgical colour is white.

Together with the Christian Church we pray a collect for this Sunday “Almighty God, by the death of Your Son You have destroyed sin and death, and by his resurrection You have restored innocence and everlasting life, in order that, delivered from the power of the devil, we may live in Your kingdom. Grant that we may believe this with our whole heart, and, steadfast in this faith, may praise and thank You evermore; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.”

Hymn for this Sunday: “The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want” by Francis Rous, 1579-1659, et al.

  1. The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want;
    He makes me down to lie
    In pastures green; He leadeth me
    The quiet waters by.
  2. My soul He doth restore again
    And me to walk doth make
    Within the paths of righteousness,
    E’en for His own name’s sake.
  3. Yea, tho’ I walk in death’s dark vale,
    Yet will I fear no ill;
    For Thou art with me, and Thy rod
    And staff me comfort still.
  4. My table Thou hast furnished
    In presence of my foes;
    My head Thou dost with oil anoint,
    And my cup overflows.
  5. Goodness and mercy, all my life,
    Shall surely follow me;
    And in God’s house forevermore
    My dwelling place shall be.

Hymn #436  The Lutheran Hymnal Text: Psalm 23
Author: Francis Rous, et al., 1650 Composer: William Gardiner, 1812 Tune: “Belmont”

If you are called to preach this weekend, may the triune God give you joy and strength, enthusiasm and wisdom, knowledge and insight – and the true words and pictures to preach his holy will faithfully according to his most precious revelation of his will and promises in both the Old and New Testament! However if you are not preaching, but listening – then listen as if God is talking to you + His precious gospel is “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” (Rom 1:16 NIV)

Here is my sermon preached this morning at St. Paul’s during the divine service: 

 

About Wilhelm Weber jr

Rector of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Tshwane
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