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What does it mean to believe? Recently I asked that question at a Bible study. At first there was an awkward silence and trepidation among the group, but eventually someone chimed in, “Belief has to do with the things I hold dear to my heart.” I appreciated her answer, and...

God, the shepherd of my heart, help me to rely on your promises of love, acceptance, and hope. Amen.


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Lectionary Week
April 19–25, 2021
Scripture Overview

This week’s readings open with a confrontation in Acts between Peter and John and some of the religious leaders. Peter speaks in harsh terms to the leaders, stating that they had killed Jesus; yet by the power of Jesus’ name, a man who could not walk has been healed. By that same name spiritual healing happens as well. The other three passages employ the metaphor of the Good Shepherd. “The Lord is my shepherd,” the psalmist declares, and the shepherd cares for all our needs. In John’s Gospel, Jesus declares that he is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep. First John repeats this imagery. Jesus proved his love when he lay down his life for us. If we truly love one another, we also ought to sacrifice in tangible ways

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Acts 4:5-12. When have you gotten into difficulty for exercising your Christian faith and values? If never, why not?
Read Psalm 23. What is your first memory of hearing or reading this psalm? Has it had a significant role in your life of faith? If so, what has its role been?
Read 1 John 3:16-24. How do your actions reflect your love for God and for your fellow children of God?
Read John 10:11-18. What “wolves” have you faced in your life? How have you experienced the presence of the Good Shepherd with you as you faced these threats?

Respond by posting a prayer.

To anyone considering the 2022 Spiritual Formation in Today’s World: Ask yourself if you are ready and willing to give your heart, mind, body, and soul to the experience. If you are, you will be changed in ways you may not even know you need. And it will continue to shape you into the future.” 


Learn more about Spiritual Formation in Today’s World: A One-Year Online Offering from The Academy for Spiritual Formation here.