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Related Bible reading(s): John 10.1-10

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ROOTS is a partnership of denominations and other Christian organisations and has been publishing lectionary-based worship resources online and in print since 2002.

Worship-at-home resources to help you read and reflect on this week's Bible passage: John 10:1-1

 

Copyright

You are welcome to copy this material for use in your own resources e.g. printed sheets or web pages including audio/video recordings. If you do so, please include this acknowledgement to ROOTS:
© ROOTS for Churches Ltd (www.rootsontheweb.com) 2002-2020.
Reproduced with permission.

 

A way into thinking about the Gospel reading

Lord, be our shepherd, and keep us safe;
watch over us by day and by night, and keep us safe;
draw us together as a church and community, 
and keep us safe. Amen.

In Mediterranean lands, moving livestock seasonally between winter and summer pastures is still well known. And shepherding is not done, as in this country, using dogs. Rather, as in the Gospel reading, each shepherd calls his own sheep out of the communal pen and, walking ahead of them, leads them to pasture. The sheep follow the distinctive sound of their own shepherd’s voice, nibbling the grass as they go; they don’t even need to look up to see the path ahead, such is their trust and confidence in the one who leads, guides and guards them.

  • Do we have trust and confidence in Jesus, as the one who leads and guides and guards us?
  • What can we do to foster it in our church community?

There is plenty to be explored here about the nature of leadership in the church:

  • Is it a good thing for a congregation to be easily led?
  • What kinds of characteristics should be present in a person who takes a leadership role in the life of a church?
  • If we call the minister ‘pastor’ do we run the risk of forgetting that it is Jesus who is the shepherd?

If so, perhaps those in leadership positions in the church are more like sheepdogs than shepherds — those who help the shepherd lead the church?

 

PostScript - Abundance in lockdown?

 

This week's Live your faith sheet

(Bible notes, prayers, a picture and questions for reflection, a live your faith action)

 

Activity

Design a ‘good shepherd’

The ‘good shepherd’ is the oldest known image in Christian art, found widely in Roman catacombs. It has also been found to be the image of Jesus to which young children relate best.

Download and print an early Christian image of the ‘good shepherd’ (search ‘Jesus shepherd catacombs’ – there are many available), and place it in the centre of a large sheet of paper.

Invite those present to think of characteristics that make this such a powerful and attractive image, and to write or draw something to represent their ideas round the image.

 

Prayers

A prayer of praise

We praise you, Lord Jesus,
for being the voice of peace when we are angry,
for being the voice of hope when we are afraid,
for being the voice of love when we feel rejected,
and for being the voice we can always trust
at every stage of our life. Amen.

 

A personal prayer

Lord Jesus, as I wake and rise, may I know your presence as the gatekeeper of my day, that fears may be quelled, energy maintained and time blessed. Then as the hours pass and my thoughts turn to the night, may my body find rest, my mind find peace, and may sleep restore and refresh me, as you, Lord, become the gatekeeper of my night. I ask this in your name. Amen.

 

A meditative prayer on the mystery of God and creation

If I could fathom everything,
figure out all there is to know,
about you and this world…

If someone told me I could understand it all,
have nothing left to mystery,
have no story left untold,
nothing left to wonder…

If I had the chance
to solve it all,
identify every twist and turn,
never miss a beat…

I think I would hesitate,
stop and think.

Because I love you, Lord,
and part of the reason why,
is the 'don't know'.

The mist,
the haze,
the fog,
the questions,
the discovery,
the adventure.

It's fantastic, Lord,
so I'm searching,
I'm looking,
I'm living the best you have for me.

I desire more of you,
more of the life you want to live through me.
Living with eyes wide open,
I'm looking to see,
where you will jump out next!
How exciting Lord.  Let's keep going.

 

A prayer for the promises of Psalm 23
to be instilled in our hearts

The Lord's my shepherd I shall not want…
O but I shall, shan't I?
I want for lots of things…
I always think I'm lacking something.
I always imagine that just one more acquisition will bring me fulfilment.
I always suppose that just one further achievement will bring me peace…

Make me lie down in green pastures, Lord, content in your presence.

Yea though I walk in death's dark vale, yet will I fear no ill…
But I will, won't I?
I will fear lots of things…
I am afraid most of the time, I am afraid right now.
Afraid of losing my grip on things, status, health, relationships.
Afraid of what others will think of me, afraid of getting it all wrong, afraid of letting go…

Release my fear, Lord, with the sure knowledge of your comforting presence.

Goodness and mercy all my life shall surely follow me…
But I'm not sure, am I?
Usually I expect the worst
I despair that my small efforts will not really change anything.
I'm not good at looking for the best in people and encouraging them to greatness.
I'm not confident that I could be the one to bring goodness and mercy, joy and hope into broken lives.

Restore my soul once more, Lord that I may evermore walk in your presence.

Amen.

 

Listen and sing

New man, Charles Dada, on New man
Let there be light, Third Day on Revival
Into the deep (live), Citipointe live on Into the deep

Traditional hymn(s): The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want

 

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