I was an adult the first time I ever saw a sheep in person. I have to confess that all those paintings of Jesus and sheep radically undersold what real sheep look like. I did not find them to be cute or to have a particularly pleasant smell, but neither...
Gracious Shepherd, give us eyes to look at the world with compassion and love. Help us to be your hands and feed to those in need of a gracious friend. Amen.
The reading from Acts picks up the themes of mutual love and fellowship from last week and records that the display of these qualities captured the attention of the people in Jerusalem. When the church displays these qualities today, they still attract people to the Lord. The psalm and First Peter are linked by the theme of suffering. In Psalm 23, David is confident that God will stay with him even through the darkest valley. Peter encourages his audience to walk through that same valley, strengthened by the knowledge that God will never abandon them and that they are following the example of Christ. In John, Jesus declares that he is the way to safety for God’s sheep, so we should listen to his voice alone.
Read Acts 2:42-47. How have you seen the joy and goodwill of the people of the church attract new members?Read Psalm 23. How do this psalm’s joys and comforts change when you consider the suffering of the psalmist in Psalm 22?Read 1 Peter 2:19-25. When you have been caught in a struggle, how have your actions helped or worsened your situation?Read John 10:1-10. How have you or someone you know attempted to enter God’s abundance by stealth? What does it mean for you to rectify this and enter through the gate?
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