Sunday Worship 3rd May

Opening words: John 10:10

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Prayers:

We come because we know we are welcome, O God.

We come in the name of Jesus.

We come because you call us by name, O God.

We come in the name of Jesus.

We come together to offer you our worship, O God.

We come in the name of Jesus.

Amen

Lord’ s prayer

Bible Readings: Psalm 23; Acts 2.42-47; 1 Peter 2.19-25; John 10.1-10

Thoughts for the day

Penning the sheep in for the night back in Jesus’ time was very different from farming today. Although the sheep would be securely hemmed in by stone walls or similar, there would be a space where, instead of a gate, the shepherd would lie down: to watch his sheep, and to be alert should an enemy seek to attack.

• Once again, the disciples don’t seem to understand Jesus’ message about being a shepherd, and ask him what he means. Jesus says that not everyone will understand, but we need ears to hear. Listening to Jesus’ voice is key to this analogy, as he says that the sheep will not follow the voice of a stranger, but they recognise the voice of the shepherd and will follow him to abundance.

• What does abundance look like to you? In the Early Church, it meant having enough to share, being generous, and ensuring that no one goes without. It meant being with and worshipping alongside each other - and through this, adding to their daily. Abundance is this picture of having enough, with enough to share. How often do we live in that kind of abundance?

Jesus ‘came that they may have life, and have it abundantly’ (John 10.10).

Yet, we find our lives more restricted than at any time for decades. And we may find certain items are far from abundant – whether that be toilet paper, flour or yeast. This may feel far from abundant life: certainly, the idea of being led out by a shepherd is a difficult one when we are shut inside our homes.

However, the Gospel message still stands. Our life in Jesus is not dependent on the places we can physically access or what material goods we were able to obtain prior to lockdown. Instead, we are called to be part of communities of faith, enjoying relationship with God and sharing what we do have with each other.

The disciples met together in the Temple and in each other’s homes – which is also a challenge for us at this precise moment. However, we can still call each other to pray. We can agree to watch a particular programme on television or online at the same time as each other, thus know that we are standing in God’s presence together – even when in different buildings.

We have been called to follow Jesus’ voice as our shepherd – together with the rest of the flock. And today, more than ever, we need – consciously and deliberately – to choose to reach out to others, and to take time to hear our shepherd’s voice.

Reflections on today – abundance

Cup overflowing

What feelings does this image evoke in you?

When have you experienced ‘enough with enough to share’?

Does our church offer opportunities for sharing abundance?

A Worship Activity for all

On a sheet of paper, draw three columns.

In the first column, write the names of other members of your congregation.

In the second/middle column, write the names of the members of your family.

In the third column, write down the names of your friends.

Then:

  • Thank God for each person whose name you have written down; that they – and you – are all part of God’s family.

  • Ask God to make one name stand out for you; pray for that person to know God’s abundance in their life.

  • Ask God to make another name stand out; contact that person by phone, email or letter.

You could repeat this this activity more than once during the week.

Hymns:

20 All people that on earth do dwell - with a choice of music

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=US4wxE9om74 Roger Jones version

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-1dQ8t03mE traditional version

315 I will sing the wondrous story

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mv8wo-t6C1I

1008 The Lords my Shepherd

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pN4tPkX0MG0

1167 You never let go

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b61wsBdqrKM

624 Take my life - with a choice of music

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FBvoRwNyB0 modern version

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gf11rReeWIs traditional version

Extra songs – just because I love new songs!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hj_0pvIGkks My prayer for you

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sq233lM3k9w This we know

A prayer for others:

Loving God, we pray for those whose lives are empty;

for all who feel alone and unloved;

for those whose lives lack, or have recently lost, purpose.

We pray for those whose lives are filled with anger and bitterness;

for those who cannot let go of the past, and so have little present or future hope in their lives.

We pray for those whose lives are filled with anguish and pain;

for those who suffer in the current crisis;

for those who are afraid to go to work because of the risks;

for those who cannot see a way forward.

We pray for those who live on the edge;

for those who watch others enjoy life but are unable to join in;

for those who lack faith;

and for those whom others ignore.