In the Christian calendar, we know that all Sundays have specific names according to the lectionary year (Fourth Sunday of Easter, Day of Pentecost, etc.). Some Sundays have “liturgical nicknames” as well, mainly taken from the readings for a particular Sunday.
The Second Sunday of Easter is known as “Thomas Sunday” from the gospel account of “Doubting Thomas.” The Seventh Sunday of Easter is known as “Ascension Sunday,” as it is the Sunday after Ascension Day, commemorating the day the resurrected Jesus returned to the Father. And the Sunday after All Saints’ Day, always the first Sunday in November, is often called by its shorthand name “All Saints’ Sunday.”
The Fourth Sunday of Easter (this Sunday, May 7) is known as “Good Shepherd Sunday.” The lectionary readings today all point to the resurrected Christ, Jesus the Good Shepherd, who calls each of his flock by name.
The reading from First Peter references the shepherd and the sheep: “For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:25)
Sunday’s gospel, the tenth chapter of John, is the central reading that identifies Good Shepherd Sunday: “The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” (John 10:2-3)
Given these passages, it's only fitting that the Pslam selection is Psalm 23. Some of the hymns for the morning’s liturgy are metrical versions of the comforting words.
Fans of British television comedies will recognize the Offertory anthem as the theme music from the BBC series The Vicar of Dibley. Contemporary English composer Howard Goodall created a sublime setting for beloved text. Our CHC Choristers will sing the sweet opening and closing lines of this beautiful anthem.