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Sermon Sunday April 21, 2024 The Fourth Sunday of
Easter
Lessons: Acts 4:5-12
Psalm 23
1 John 3:16-24
John 10:11-18
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
Spirit. Amen.
“What do you know Hudak?” asked the stand owner who
was a friend of my Dad’s. Many of you may know that I
worked with my father in our family business in my younger
years. We owned a poultry stand in the New Central Market.
The Market was on of two old-fashioned markets in or near
downtown Cleveland at the time. There were individual
stand owners who specialized in their area. That is, one sold
fruit, another sold vegetables, another sold their homemade
baked goods, etc. We happened to sell chickens, turkeys and
other birds already dressed. That is plucked and cleaned.
What do you know was market talk for the equivalent of
How’s it going and what’s new!
For some reason this popped into my reference to today’s
readings for this Sunday. Two Sundays ago we spoke about

knowing that Jesus has risen from the dead as more than an
intellectual exercise. We know this in our being, our bodies
through all our senses and experiences.
This week the way that word knowing jumps out is what the
old market talk, what’s new and how are you, plus the
knowing of Jesus in our whole being. Putting all that
together, knowing takes on the meaning of relationship, of a
relationship that speaks of respect, love, and familiarity that
allows the speaking of truth, and of sharing of all the good,
the bad, and the ugly. This can be akin to a marriage where
we know how someone puts down the toilet seat, or doesn’t,
how they put toothpaste on their toothbrush, how they take
their coffee or tea, how they sing to your cat or dog, how
they sleep on their side or stomach, or how they smile when
they say good morning to you. Things about this person may
drive you to craziness or laughter, but you know them and
they know you!
Today’s Psalm seems to lead us to of God’s love for us.
One of the most known and beloved psalms, if not the most
well-known psalm is Psalm 23. We tend to hear this psalm
at funerals, or in times of trouble when we need to be
reminded of and feel God’s presence in our live. “The Lord

is my shepherd, I shall not want.” God is right there with us
in the most challenging and difficult times in our lives, but
God is also there with us in the best of times. “You anoint
my head with Oil; my cup overflows.” Being anointed with
oil in this way means that you are God’s. You are holy, you
belong to and with God.
Our reading from the Gospel of John today is also a well-
loved and well-known passage from the Bible. Jesus tells us
that he is the good shepherd and the good shepherd lays
down his life for the sheep—presumably for us, for the
world. Jesus says, “I have other sheep that do not belong to
this fold. I must bring them also.”
In fact, Jesus is such a good shepherd that he lays down his
life willingly for us, no one is forcing him to do so. And
Jesus knows us. He was there when Peter denied him. He
was there when Judas betrayed him. He was there when the
nails were driven into his body. But he was also there when
Peter declared that “You are the Messiah.” He was there
when Thomas said “My Lord and my God.” He was there
when the Samaritan cared for the injured person at the side
of the road. Jesus knows us. He knows us in the good, the
bad, and the ugly. He has that deep relationship with us.

Questions for us to contemplate today are the following. Do
we know Jesus? Do we know God? Do we have that
relationship with God that the word knowing implies? What
do you know Hudak? What do you know God? Sometimes I
think that our relationship with God is pretty one-sided. It
reminds me of that old song by Janet Jackson, “What have
you done for me lately? That is does our knowing God, our
relationship with God depend on what God does for us, or
even how much God does for us? Is God our “sugar daddy”
or “sugar mama”? Do we come crying to God only in the
difficult times and forget that there is even a God when
things are going well for us?
I am not accusing anybody of anything here. Heaven knows
that I can be as short-sighted under theses circumstances
perhaps more than anybody else. These are valid questions
to ask ourselves though.
So, how do we know God? How do we have that
relationship with God that allows us to know, that allows us
to know how God puts the toothpaste on the toothbrush?
Jesus himself gives us not just a clue, but an example of how
to know God in this way. Jesus would go off by himself and
pray. That’s a bit scary isn’t it? What if through prayer I find

out I have to do something that I feel that I am particularly
want to do, or I have to do something that I don’t want to do,
or I have to change something about myself that I don’t want
to change? Well, God knows us and loves us, and is with
us!
The Scripture passage from the First Letter of John gives us
another clue or example of how can know God. This write
says, “How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the
world’s good and sees a brother or sister in need and yet
refuses to help” Yikes! Jesus told us love God and love your
neighbor. Through prayer and practice, practice and prayer,
we will know God.
We may be frightened to really know God, but if we are
honest with ourselves, we all have this deep longing, hidden
perhaps, but there nonetheless, in our being to abide in God.
That is our telos, our goal. If we want to be whole, if we
want to be saved from ourselves, if we want to have life and
life in abundance, then we need to know God.
Saint Teresa of Avila was a great saint, a mystic, writer of
poetry, and one of the few female doctors (particularly wise
people of theological thought) of the Church back in the day.

These words, this poem by her seems to express this need to
know God, to be I relationship with God the best.
Has this not Happened to You?
There are moments when I wish
I had a thousand lives to spend for God,
When no penance or suffering
Seems too severe.
And often when the
Opportunity occurs to act on
These desires, they prove genuine.
But I cannot say these desires
Stay with me,
For at times my soul turns coward
In the most trivial matters
And is too frightened
To undertake any work for God.
Has this no happened to you?
Sometimes I feel completely detached,
When I am in a moment of trial.
Yet the next day I discover that I am quite attached to the
very things
That I would have laughed at yesterday,

And I hardly recognize myself.
One day I am so full of courage
That I would do anything for God.
The next day I would not kill an ant.
If I met the slightest opposition.
There are days when nothing
anyone says disturbs me.
And yet there are also days
When a single word so devastates me
That I long to flee this world.
You, my God, know hot it is.
Have pity on me.
Grant that I might accomplish
Some of my dreams
For your greater honor and glory.
Spare me not completely,
For with your strength I can
Endure much;
Without you I can do nothing. Amen.