We were blessed to have Rev. Dr. Deborah Blanks, pastor of Mt. Pisgah African Methodist Episcopal Church, as our guest preacher on the Fourth Sunday of Easter, April 25. In her sermon, Rev. Blanks preached on the subject “The Good Shepherd,” as recorded in the Scripture John 10:11-18.” We hope you enjoyed your time here with us, Rev. Blanks, as much as we enjoyed having you and listening to your powerful message.
She assured us that Jesus the Good Shepherd knows us better than we know ourselves and cares for us beyond our knowing.” God knows each of us as though we were the only sheep in the world,” she told us. “It is a blessing to know the one who is the ground of our being and the mover of this very universe,” added Rev. Blanks.
She made some interesting points throughout her sermon. Still, this one kept me thinking a lot, especially about how we do business: “In our way of thinking, a 99% return on our investment would be most desirable, but not this shepherd. He left the 99 to go in search of the one lost sheep,” stated Rev. Blanks. Yes, Jesus is the Good Shepherd to all of us. If only we can love Him as much as He loves us and love our neighbors as ourselves, what a wonderful world we would be living in!
You, too, can experience God’s love and love for others in return. Come worship with us at Princeton United Methodist Church, and be a part of this beloved community. Click here to watch the PUMC worship service and listen to Rev. Blanks’ sermon.
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From Rev. Catherine Williams: As I write this note Lent is on my mind. This is the time of the liturgical year I think of death and renewal. The dry, barren woods behind my home remind me that nature is in her own necessary cycle of death and renewal, even as Lent approaches. What images does Lent conjure for you? As a child growing up in Anglican schools the images of this season were markedly somber: fasting, deprivation, denial, meatless Fridays, penitence, confession, and lots of songs in minor keys! It was all about traditional piety back then. As an adult however, I’ve learned to lean into Lent more purposefully. Leaning into Lent means preparing to strip down my faith to its bare essentials. I don’t always succeed but the process always yields a healthier spirituality.
This year our mid-week Lenten meditations invite us into a fresh experience of the wilderness. We can lean into Lent as we take the journey from our cultivated daily landscapes into the uninhabited places of prayer, fasting, study, or whatever spiritual discipline is most meaningful to us at this time.
Our Lenten sermon series, starting February 17, looks at the “I am” sayings of Jesus as recorded in the Gospel according to John. Jesus identified himself in these sayings as the Light of the World, the True Vine, the Good Shepherd, the Way, the Truth, the Life, the Door, and the Resurrection and the Life. These are powerful nodes of spiritual encounter that invite you and me to fertilize and prune our faith during this season of death and renewal. I hope you’ll take this invitation to heart and join us on this grace-filled journey as the Spirit leads us towards wholeness and healing. As we lean into Lent together, I offer for our meditation this hymn of prayer from Charles Wesley: (UMH #410)
I want a principle within of watchful, godly fear,
A sensibility of sin, a pain to feel it near.
I want the first approach to feel of pride or wrong desire,
To catch the wandering of my will, and quench the kindling fire.
In Lenten simplicity.