Fourth Sunday in Easter
When I write a sermon I tend to focus on one of the readings and usually it is the Gospel Reading. I don't want to do that today. I want to say something about all four.
Lets look at the first reading. The book of Acts. It paints an idealized version of the early church and how it grew. They were generous, they broke bread at home. They spent much time together and had goodwill of all the people. Their community grew day by day. This sounds wonderful doesn't it. It sounds like the perfect family. To even approximate this kind of harmony is not easy. All of us grew up in families so you know what I am talking about. The Ozzie and Harriet and Leave it to Beaver families are somewhere from rare to non-existent.
Still, even though we often fall short of the ideal, we still care about each other and we stand behind our communities and our families when there is a need. I believe our church family of St. Andrew's is a lot like that.
I have to say something about the 23rd Psalm. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. This psalm has brought so much comfort to people who are in a crisis. When I was doing the chaplaincy program at Methodist Hospital, I read the 23rd Psalm often to people who were in distress. It may have been a child who was gravely ill or a person who was near death. I believe that people look to this psalm because it tells us we are not alone. 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. Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.
I want that. I want to believe that God is looking out for me, that I am not alone in my struggles. That God is walking down this path and he is by my side. I believe God has given us families for that same purpose.
In Peter, he tells us to not forget the suffering of Jesus. He writes, “even though he had done nothing wrong and that by his wounds we are healed.” We all go astray and when we look at Jesus example we are led, we are shepherded by him on the path.
In the reading from John, Jesus uses the metaphor of the gatekeeper and the sheep. Jesus is the gate for the sheep. We are the sheep. Sheep are not considered the brightest creatures on the planet. They are near sighted so they can easily stray from the path. They need to be led.
That is me. I have never felt I was all that bright and I easily stray from the path. I clearly need to be led. Christ's message and his leadership are just what I need.
All of these writings are about relationships. They are about our relationship with our God, with our community, and with our family. Today we celebrate someone else who give us the occasional nudge to stay on the path and that is our mothers. This is a time when we honor our mothers.
I found some Mothers day poems that I would like to share with you. I was going to write my own poem about the gifts we have given out today but I couldn't think of any words that rhymed with geranium.
The heart of a home is a mother
Whose love is warm and true,
And home has always been "sweet home"
With a wonderful mother like you!
Just one little wish for you, Mom,
But it's loving and happy and true-
It's a wish that the nicest and best things
Will always keep coming to you!
Sending this, Mom, especially to say
Wishing you a happy
And wonderful day...
And to tell you this day will always be one
For remembering the many
Sweet things you have done!
Every family is different. When my mom got to the point where she couldn't take care of me, my aunt Mary took over. She was incredibly kind to this teenage boy who really needed her. She did all of these things for me. She washed my clothes, cook a wonderful meal on Sunday, gave me a big tin of cookies to take for my week at boarding school. She loved me.