Psalm 23, Acts 4: 5-12, 1 John 3:16-end, John 10: 11-18
“How 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? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.” Words from this morning’s reading from the first letter of John.
We also hear in our Gospel reading of Jesus being ‘the good shepherd’, words also used in today’s psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd”; analogies often used in the Bible, for those first readers of the scriptures could easily identify with a shepherd and the care that he took of his flock of sheep.
We are ourselves, both here at St. Luke’s and at The Barn, about to welcome a new shepherd, or I should say shepherdess! The Rev’d Melanie Harrington will soon be with us, and I wonder what kind of ‘flock’ she is expecting to find and indeed what kind of flock we will all present to her?
It is at times very easy for us all to see ourselves through ‘rose tinted glasses’, and to perhaps see the arrival of a new vicar as someone who will take the concerns of our two churches squarely on her own shoulders. After today’s service, as you will all be aware, together with those who will hear or read this sermon later, we will hold our annual APCM, and I am sure that you will all have read the reports that have been written on the many activities within our church; relating to the wonderful music, the meticulously prepared accounts, reports from those leading our children on Sundays, plus much more information from those running St. Luke’s.
Here within these reports we witness, the love shown to our church, ‘not in word or speech, but in truth and action’. For things do not simply happen by talking about them, but by the action taken by those doing them.
Those early disciples moved from being a lost and frightened group locked in an upstairs room, to being able to take on the good news of a resurrected Christ, without fear or compromise, as we heard in the reading from Acts. Thus was the power of the Holy Spirit working within them. A gift to all who follow in the path of our Lord.
So we must also look to the whole body of Christ ‘the church’, each and everyone of us, to come forward in ‘truth and action’ to help with the life here at St.Luke’s. It is also I am sure something that Rev’d Melanie will also be very much hoping for. From ‘meeting and greeting’, to being a Church Warden, the everyday, and every Sunday functions of our church are entirely reliant on people coming forward to help with these many tasks.
As we again slowly move back, we pray, to a more normal way of life and services at our two churches, so many more hands will be needed, as children and adults return and Sundays resume to a more regular pattern.
It is also very possible that the Rev’d Melanie may wish to bring new ideas, and different patterns for our services.
So as we look forward in this new church year, let us all look within ourselves to find what we can offer to the continued life of our two churches here in Kew, and for this congregation here today, and those at home reading or listening, especially to our life here at St. Luke’s. Every shepherd needs a flock, and as written in today's Gospel from John, “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me”.
The church is entirely dependent on its members for it’s continued presence and example to all who both come through our doors and those who purely look to us to show the continued life of the Christian Faith here in Kew and beyond.
Amen Michael Tonkin
Cover image by Han Kyoung Park from Pixabay