Morning Worship - 21st June 2020

The Lost Sheep

 

Abba, Father,

on this beautiful Sunday morning

and in this moment of quietness

your name, Abba, Father, is the name on our lips.

Abba, Father.

The Lord Jesus taught us that your love shines upon us like the sun

whether we are bad or good;

that your love falls upon us like the rain

no matter where we have been, or what we have done.

How deep your love for us

that your loving forgiveness should come to us

more than able, more than willing

to carry us home.

Lord, may we turn around,

may we let go of many things;

may we lift up our eye to you,

Loving Father.

Speak to us now, Holy Spirit,

through the life giving words of the Lord Jesus

who came to show us the path that takes us home.

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

In the villages such as Nazareth there could be several shepherds each with their own flocks. In the morning the flocks would mingle together in the village until one of the shepherds came and called out with a musical cry or a tune on his pipe. Then his flock, and only his flock, would leave the others and come to him as he leads them out into the wilderness for the day.

Sheep were kept primarily for their wool and not for eating so they lived out their lives with the shepherd who might know each one by a name. This meant the sheep bonded with the shepherd and would recognise his voice from all the other shepherds.

The importance of the sheep for each family and the bond that a good shepherd had for his flock meant that he would go and look for any that were lost and keep looking until he found it.  In Jesus' day Galilean shepherds might have to deal with wolves, bears or leopards - even thieves. And shepherds could lose their lives protecting their flocks.

In his parable Jesus presents the shepherd as one willing to risk his life in order to save the lost sheep and bring it back to the flock where it belonged.

He was telling the Pharisees that instead of looking down on the unclean, the sinner and the lost they should rejoice whenever one of them came to know the Father's love in their lives.

But Jesus was also indicating that he, one day, would lay his life down that others, who were lost, might be found and brought back into the Father's love.

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Loving Lord,

we have travelled many paths

and we have known days of gladness

but some of us know what it is like to feel lost,

to feel alone, without direction,

not knowing what to do.

But you, Lord Jesus, are more than able to carry us home.

And so this, O Lord,  is our prayer:

heal us,  forgive us, restore us, 

set us again upon our feet,

that we might let your light shine before others.

Lord, in this world of darkness, anger and fear

there is so much need, so much thirsting.

Help us to see our neighbours;

may we help them carry their burdens;

help us to see the strangers far away,

may we be generous without counting the cost.

And hear us as we pray for one we name quietly now.

Lord, keep us safe

till we meet together 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.