The Shepherd and His sheep


Welcome to our virtual Sunday Service.


I hope we can join our Spirits and worship God as one today.


Today is the 3rd of May, and the lectionary readings for today begin with Psalm 23 




Psalm 23


A psalm of David.


         1      The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not be in want.

         2      He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,

         3      he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

         4      Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,

                 for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

         5      You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my

                 head with oil; my cup overflows.

         6      Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell

                 in the house of the LORD forever.



Psalm 23 is a song of joyful trust in the Lord. It is a song of complete confidence in God’s presence and protection. This Psalm has brought strength and comfort to millions, and is probably the best-known scripture in the Bible. The psalmist, King David, finds comfort in God’s presence in the ‘now’, but also in the future when he dwells with the Lord in eternity. This is the hope that is vividly described in Revelation 21:1-4.

The most enduring image from this psalm is that of God as our Shepherd, and Jesus used this metaphor to teach us something about Himself, that we will read a little later.      



Perhaps we could sing the 23rd Psalm or look up a Christian artist singing it online.


 




      Church Prayer


            Take time to praise God for who He is and what He has done.


            Pray for an end to the virus and restrictions, and pray that we

        will all be able to join together again soon.

            Pray for our fellowship, and God’s blessings on our ministries.


            Pray for others, particularly the older and vulnerable members,

       and those with health issues…

            Leigh and Hilary

            Maurie and Anthea

            Margaret Pollard

            Elva Edwards

            Geoff Colotti

            Noel Ahrens


Pray for the leaders of the nation and the world, that God would give them courage, wisdom and guidance.




Communion


Prayer of Blessing

Loving God, It is through your goodness that we have this bread and wine to offer, which earth has given and human hands have made. In the sharing of this bread, may we know your resurrection presence.



The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me."

In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me."

For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.


Prayer for the bread

Thank you Gracious Father for this bread; the symbol of your Son’s body given for us;

As many grains make this bread; so we who are many are one in you.


Prayer for the wine

Thank you gracious Father for this wine; the symbol of your Son’s blood, shed for us;

By your wounds we are healed; through your blood we are forgiven


Prayer of closing

Father we thank you for this time around your table. As we have shared it with our brothers and sisters, this day, around the world. Many are our loved ones whom we miss here today;

But we commend them and ourselves to you and to your good and perfect care.

Through Jesus Christ Our Lord, Amen.



Meditate on the lectionary readings for today; all taken from the New International Version.

If you would like to comment on something; or if there is something you don’t understand; or something seems confusing – email me and I will endeavour to answer (vrmallet@bigpond.com) 



John 10:1-10

“I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. 3 The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”

6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.

7 Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.


1 Peter 2:19–25

19 For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

22      “He committed no sin,

         and no deceit was found in his mouth.”

23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.


Acts 2:42–47

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.




Let me close with a poem written by Minnie Haskins and famously read by King George the VI at Christmas 1939, as the Second World War had begun only 4 months earlier. 


God bless you all.


Russell.






God Knows 

(Read by George the VI – 1939 Christmas broadcast to the British Empire)

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

So heart bestill:
What need our little life
Our human life to know,
If God hath comprehension?
In all the dizzy strife
Of things both high and low,
God hideth His intention.

God knows. His will
Is best. The stretch of years
Which wind ahead, so dim
To our imperfect vision,
Are clear to God. Our fears
Are premature; In Him,
All time hath full provision.

Then rest: until
God moves to lift the veil
From our impatient eyes,
When, as the sweeter features
Of Life’s stern face we hail,
Fair beyond all surmise
God’s thought around His creatures
Our mind shall fill.

Minnie Haskins