Fourth Sunday of Easter

Year B / Sunday, April 25, 2021

Readings for this Sunday: 

Acts 4:8–12

Psalm 118:1, 8–9, 21–23, 26, 28, 29 (Rx 22)

1 John 3:1–2

John 10:11–18

When we hear Jesus say, “I am the Good Shepherd,” it’s tempting to wander off into bucolic bliss. If we do that, we’re missing the radical point of this I AM statement. The startling question underneath it is this: Good for whom? That is, who is Jesus being a good shepherd for? Well, of course, us, the flock of the Lord. But we are not the only ones. Jesus says there are others outside of this flock for whom he must lay down his life until there is one flock and one shepherd. This should convict us to ask: Why aren’t they part of the fold? Have we done something to prevent them from wanting to belong or even feeling welcomed? Have we been protective of our pasture, our pew, our privileges to let Jesus be good for those we might not want among us, those we think don’t deserve it? Are we hoarding Jesus’s goodness for ourselves?

Here’s the twist of this Gospel’s two-edged sword: Jesus is not the only good shepherd who must lay down his life. Two weeks from now, we will hear Jesus say that all who want to be his friends must also lay down their lives for their friends—that is, for Jesus’s ever-expanding flock. We aren’t the sheep here. We’re the shepherd.

–Diana Macalintal

Suggested Music

Come and Rest

Carol Browning and Larry Harris

G-9510 · SAB, assembly, keyboard, guitar


“Be still and know that I am God. Come find refuge and retreat.”  

Busy can feel like a perpetual state of being. Busy feels like validation, proof of our worth. It can seem like a welcome distraction from what worries us most.  God invites us to lay down the burden of busy and simply live, for God and in God and in God’s peace. Only there can we truly rest and have our thirst be quenched. So, are we willing to accept the invitation? Are we brave enough to let go of our fears and our busy-ness and rest in the arms of the Shepherd who loves us completely?

–Jennifer Odegard

The Name

Arr. Glenn Burleigh

G-7753 · SAB, piano, C instrument

Come, O Fount of Every Blessing

Arr. Carlton Young

G-6353 · SAB, keyboard

The Good Shepherd

Zebulon Highben

G-7483 · SAB, piano, C instrument

El Señor Es Mi Pastor / The Lord Is My Shepherd

Carlos Zapién

G-10060 · SAB, assembly, keyboard, guitar

Heart of a Shepherd

Rory Cooney

G-6720 · SAB, cantor, assembly, keyboard, guitar, opt. flute and string quartet

More suggestions for the Fourth Sunday of Easter…

Faithful Shepherd Grayston Ives, text by T. B. Pollack SATB, organ • G-8343 

Holy Spirit Alleluia: Gospel Acclamation and Verses for the Easter Season Arr. Rob Glover SATB, cantor, assembly, organ • G-8699  

I Saw Water Flowing / Alleluia: Rite of Sprinkling and Gospel Acclamation for Eastertide James Biery Unison with descant, SATB, cantor, assembly, organ • G-8469 

Jesus is My Shepherd / Our God is Great Paul Hillebrand Unison children’s choir, cantor, optional assembly, optional SATB, keyboard, guitar 009418

My Heart I Offer to You, Lord Gerald Custer SATB divisi, assembly, keyboard • G-7090

Tell Me More Fred Offutt SATBkeyboard • G-7557 

The Good Shepherd M. Roger Holland II SAT, solo, assembly, keyboardguitar 001295

The Lord is My Shepherd William Gorton SATB, keyboard 008934 

The Lord is My Shepherd: Psalm 23 Orin Johnson SATB, keyboard,2 C instruments 006331 

The Stone Which the Builders Rejected Gail Gillispie SATB 009051

Three Epistle Motets: Let Us Love One Another / Christ Is an Offering / We Are God’s Children Paul Nicholson SATB, reduction • G-7593 

Very Bread Randolph Currie SATB, reduction • G-8658