Dear Cathedral Family,
If you are a fan of the “good shepherd” hymns, this is your Sunday! On this fourth Sunday of Easter, we hear Jesus describe himself to his followers as the good shepherd who calls his sheep by name and leads them through threats and danger to wellbeing and flourishing. We read together the 23rd psalm, and we hear and sing the many beloved hymns based upon it.
The images of scripture provide one of the ways we understand our lives as part of the great story of the people of God. This week, we are invited to consider Jesus as our good shepherd, leading us through the dangers, darkness, and confusion of the last year along a path that leads to the light of transformed life and new ways of being.
In this time of hope and vaccines and the lifting of restrictions and mandates, we are becoming more aware that we are not all at the same spot along the path. Some remain unvaccinated for reasons of health conditions or age. Some are not yet ready, for a variety of different reasons, to enter fully into social life and public spaces. People are making different decisions about how to live, and many of those decisions are understandable.
As we encounter friends, family, colleagues and other community members who are making choices different from ours, this is a time for patience and compassion. Before judging or speaking out, it is worth stopping, waiting and considering that understanding and gentleness are the better way.
Jesus is the good shepherd, caring for his sheep and leading them in ways that evoke trust and good will. We are the followers of the good shepherd, listening to his voice and living in his ways. Let’s all be gentle with the other sheep.