Weekly thoughts from the Rector of Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas, where these words remind us that Jesus’ peace goes with us into the world.
Each year on the Fourth Sunday of Easter, a portion of the tenth chapter of the Gospel of John is read in our liturgies. Those words refer to Jesus as the good shepherd and to us as the sheep whom he protects. And the twenty-third psalm is always heard on this day, which is often referred to as Good Shepherd Sunday.
For me, these familiar themes bring to mind the words of a favorite German chorale in the Moravian Church, which is a paraphrase of the twenty-third psalm:
Jesus makes my heart rejoice,
I’m his sheep, and know his voice;
he’s a Shepherd, kind and gracious,
And his pastures are delicious;
constant love to me he shows,
yea, my very name he knows.
Trusting his mild staff always,
I go in and out in peace;
he will feed me with treasure
of his grace in richest measure;
when athirst to him I cry,
Living water he’ll supply.
Should not I for gladness leap,
led by Jesus as his sheep?
For when these blessed days are over
to the arms of my dear Savior
I shall be conveyed to rest.
Amen, yea, my lot is blessed.
— The Rev. Neil Alan Willard, Rector