The International Communion of the African Episcopal Church

The Fourth Sunday of Resurrectiontide
Sunday, April 21, 2024

The Collect:
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.
Shepherd of all, by laying down your life for your flock you reveal your love for all. Lead us from the place of death to the place of abundant life, that guided by your care for us, we may rightly offer our lives in love for you and our neighbors. Amen.

The First Lesson:
Acts 4:5-12 NRSV
The next day their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, 
with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. 
When they had made the prisoners stand in their midst, they inquired, ‘By what power or by what name did you do this?’ 
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers of the people and elders, 
if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, 
10 let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. 
11 This Jesus is “the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.”
12 There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.’

The Response:
Psalm 23 NRSV
The Lord is my shepherd,*
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;*
He leads me beside still waters;
He restores my soul.*
He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil;*
for you are with me; your rod and your staff – they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;*
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,*
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.

The Epistle:
1 John 3:16-24 NRSV
We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us – and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. 
17 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?
18 Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. 
19 And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him 
20 whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 
21 Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; 
22 and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.
23 And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 
24 All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.

The Gospel:
John 10:11-18 NRSV
‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 
12 The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 
13 The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. 
14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 
15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. 
16 I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 
17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. 
18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.’