Morning Worship - 21st June 2020

Jesus the Good Shepherd

 

Abba, Father, loving heavenly, Father

day and night your love shines upon us

like the sun, the moon and the stars.

In the deepest darkness you are near, ever moving towards us.

With you the tiniest light shines hope

for your  love will never fail, never cease, till it find's a home.

Lord Jesus, loving shepherd,

yours is the most beautiful name of all - the name above all names.

You came that we might find life in all its fullness.

You promised that your Spirit would be like a river of life giving waters

flowing within us.

You gave your life that we might find life that is worth living.

We ask for your loving forgiveness

that we may be freed and released;

that we might again have cause for gladness.

May we forgive as we are forgiven.

Lord, speak to us in our time of worship

for we are here to listen and to receive.

Lord, hear us as we pray -

Our Father, who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy Name.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done,

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts,

As we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

But deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

and the power, and the glory, forever.

Amen.

This morning's reading is the Parable of the Lost Sheep.

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying,

“This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

So he told them this parable:  

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep,

if he has lost one of them,

does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness,

and go after the one which is lost,

until he finds it?  

And when he has found it,

he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  

And when he comes home,

he calls together his friends and his neighbours,

saying to them,

‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.’ 

 Just so, I tell you,

there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents

than over ninety-nine righteous persons

who need no repentance.                                          Luke 15 : 1 - 7

Jesus the Good Shepherd

For the first few hundred years of the Jesus' movement - the Christian church - one of the most common images for Jesus was as a shepherd. On wall paintings, mosaics and some statues, he is represented as a shepherd carrying a full grown sheep over his shoulders. Some of the images portray him slightly bending with the weight - a full grown sheep carried for a distance soon became heavy. In some images he is seen with a slight smile - this is the rejoicing of the shepherd in the parable who call his friends to celebrate with him because he has found his lost sheep.

When sheep become separated from their flock they tend to sit down in fright. They cannot be led - they must be carried. Carrying a full grown sheep across scrubland was risky; a stumble or sprained ankle could cost a shepherd their life.

 

In Jesus' parable of the Lost Sheep the rescuing and bringing back home was risky and  costly but carried out gladly for there was rejoicing on the journey home. And when home friends are gathered together to share a meal of celebration in a time of table fellowship.

What is a surprise in Jesus parable is this -

the 'sinner' is one who is lost,

and to 'repent' means to return home.

‘Rejoice with me,

for I have found my sheep which was lost.’ 

3rd and 4th century depictions of Jesus as the Good Shepherd.

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Loving Lord,

help us to place all our tomorrows down before you.

May we be free of them knowing that you will be with us

to protect us and lead us home.

Lord, may we place before you all our yesterdays.

May we forgive these we need to forgive;

and let go of all that needs to be laid down to rest.

We know the earth is full of cries of anger and fear;

We know that you are the light of the world;

may your light shine within us

and shine before others

that they may see there is hope and goodness.

We hardly know where to begin when praying for others.

Listen, Lord Jesus, to our prayer

for one we name quietly now.

Keep us safe and our loved one

till we meet again in your name. Amen.

May the loving Presence of the Father,

the ever present hope of the Lord Jesus

and the healing of the Holy Spirit

be with us all.

Amen.