Janeen Smith, Pastor ~ 26418 Mountain Highway E, Spanaway, WA ~ 253-847-8801
April 21, 2021
Dear Bethany friends,
As the clouds gather, I have been scurrying about putting away gardening tools and supplies and chair cushions that the bright, warm weather encouraged me to take out. I’ve also been trying to finish planting the last of several perennials I was a bit ambitious in buying this week. And all the while I’m telling myself, don’t worry about watering – here comes the rain! I find myself thankful for both the sun and the rain – how about you?
Easter season continues and every new green leaf or budding blossom says Christ is risen if we will pay attention. And I’m reminded that in addition to Easter being seven weeks long, every Sunday is a little bit of Easter for us - even during Lent – how about that? Tonight I’m doing an Easter thing – I’m roasting a leg of lamb and I just snuck the first slice off the end – yum!
For our prayers:
Here are the readings for the 4th Sunday of Easter, April 25 and some reflection questions for you to dig into each passage:
First Reading: Acts 4:5-12
5The next day [the] rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, 6with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. 7When they had made the prisoners stand in their midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” 8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, 10let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. 11This Jesus is
‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders;
it has become the cornerstone.’
12There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.”
Reflection: When have you gone beyond social niceties to do good for someone? What was at risk when you did it? How is Jesus the cornerstone for your life?
1The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not be in want.
2The Lord makes me lie down in green pastures
and leads me beside still waters.
3You restore my soul, O Lord,
and guide me along right pathways for your name’s sake.
4Though 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.
5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil, and my cup is running over.
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Reflection: What do you want? Has it changed throughout your life? If/when you profess that the Lord God is your shepherd, to guide, protect, and care for you, then can you imagine being without any want?
Second Reading: 1 John 3:16-24
16We know love by this, that [Jesus Christ] laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. 17How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?
18Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. 19And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him 20whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; 22and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.
23And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.
Reflection: How do you understand the message to love in truth and action? Can you recall examples in your own life where you have loved this way? Or when you have BEEN loved this way?
[Jesus said:] 11“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. 16I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. 18No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”
Reflection: What memories do you have of learning about Jesus as the Good Shepherd? When have you sensed Jesus shepherding you into better ways to live, helping you to be well?
Here is a hymn from long ago and its still a good one today – Tell It to Jesus - https://youtu.be/C0QWDcTwbGg - Amen!
God be with you this night,