What’s Up with Pastor Todd 5-1-20

“The Gate Within”

What’s Up with Pastor Todd 5-1-20

The Gospel of John has a special feature the other gospels do not. In John Jesus makes a number of theological statements that begin with the phrase “I am”: “I am the light of the world”; “I am the Bread of Life”; “I am the true vine”; “I am the resurrection and the life”; “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” There are seven “I am” statements in all. Two are found in John chapter 10, part of which serves as the lectionary text for this coming Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Easter also known as “Good Shepherd Sunday.” The “I am” statements of John 10 are: “I am the Good Shepherd,” and “I am the gate for the sheep.” I have heard many sermons and sung many hymns about the Good Shepherd. I have never heard a sermon or sung a hymn about the Gate, good or otherwise. So let’s talk about the gate!

It’s easy for me to understand why the Good Shepherd would get all the attention. The Good Shepherd invokes the romantic images of the “green pastures” and “still waters” that “restore my soul” in Psalm 23. The Good Shepherd feels accessible and relatable and comforting. The Gate seems a little weird: The gate for the sheep? What does that mean? However, my experience in life and in reading the Bible is that it’s often the overlooked things that bring the biggest insights. So this Sunday we’ll sing songs about the Good Shepherd, but we’ll reflect on the Gate and our own calling to open the way to abundant life for all during this time of pandemic.

Author: toddyonkman

I am a husband, father, author, and Designated Term Transitional Pastor of First Church of Christ in Saybrook (CT).

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