Summary: A sermon for the Fourth Sunday of Easter Jesus’ I am saying, I am the door of the sheep
Fourth Sunday of Easter
1 ¶ "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber;
2 but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
3 To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers."
6 This figure Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
7 So Jesus again said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.
8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not heed them.
9* I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. RSV
I would I like to share a parable from Pastor Schmalenberger’s Book, ’’Iowa Parables’’.
"Today, we go to central Iowa, to a little cottage up the Valley of Honey Creek about half a mile from the Des Moines River. This is in Boone County, in 1881 the evening of July 6th. It began raining, a welcomed rain in the hot, dry months of summer in Iowa. The corn needed the welcomed moisture, but then the rain began coming in sheets and Kate Shelley and her brothers and sister watched the tiny Honey Creek become a raging river. Kate, who was 15 at the time; feared whether the railroad bridge across the Honey Creek would hold against the flood of fast moving water, which was now filled with trees, logs and all sorts of other debris. Kate’s father had been a section foreman for the railroad and had often told stories of how dangerous the flood waters could be to the railroad brides. He had died recently, but the memory of his stories lived on in Kate’ s mind. She decided to let the animals out of the barn so they might f find higher ground just in case the creek would overflow and, come into their tiny farm.
Around 11:00 that evening, Kate heard the rumble of a train-- it was the "pusher", a switch engine, stationed at Moingona. It crashed into Honey Creek, because the bridge wouldn’t hold. She knew the midnight express from the west, a passenger train, would be a long soon. So she decided to see if she could help the crew of the pusher and try to stop the express.
She started out, lantern in hand, into the frightful night to do her duty as she saw it. Unable to give aid to the ill-fated crew and knowing the midnight train was soon due. , she headed west toward to save the lives of the w passengers.
She had to cross the railroad bridge over the Des Moines this in n the black of this night, to attempt this in the black of night was a scary deed.
Kate dropped to her knees and began crawling on all four across the long wind swept trestle. She felt; her way from tie to tie. A flash of lightning revealed an enormous uprooted tree coming down the river, its limbs slapped her and the water ran over her as she held on for dear life.
At last she felt the solid ground beneath her feet. She caught her breath and then ran to the station half mile away. The agent recognized her and listen carefully to her news. He blew the whistle of an engine in the yard and men came running to see what was the matter. They heard about the crew in Honey Creek and went to help. The agent flagged the west bound train and Kate became the heroine of Boone County . She was honored through out her life for this act of courage, daring, and unselfish giving in this time of danger and need."
Now I don’t know what kind of faith Kate Shelly had, I don’t know what kind of relationship she had with her Lord,but I would imagine that that kind of courage had to come from somewhere and I would like to believe it come from her faith and trust in Jesus.
This is what Jesus is talking about in our gospel lesson this morning. This is the prelude to the section about the Good Shepherd.