Shepherd, Gate and Gatekeeper
Traditionally the 4th Sunday of Easter is known as Good Shepherd Sunday. This image is made clear in the collect for this day.
O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people; Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Each year on this Sunday, we hear a different section of the 10th chapter of John’s gospel. This year is the first 10 verses and in those we hear three different descriptions of Jesus - shepherd, gatekeeper and gate. Each of these words bring so many images to mind, both positive and negative. Clearly some of those negative connotations have been used to warrant exclusion and the understanding that some are inside and others are not allowed. For me this is a narrow reading of the text and doesn’t take in the wholeness of the parable.
Seeing Jesus in all of these descriptions opens a deeper meaning to the parable. It also allows me to see others in those images. Who has been Jesus in my life as gate, gatekeeper and shepherd? Who has been Jesus in your life as gate, gatekeeper and shepherd?
L. Sue von Rautenkranz