Fourth Sunday of Easter
This short act of worship has been prepared for you to use if you are unable to attend church by the Methodist Connexion. If you are well enough why not spend a few moments with God, knowing that other people are sharing this act of worship with you. For Bishop Auckland Methodist Church, the slides, and creative prayer from Hope, Hannah and Millie have been added as well as an audio sermon by Local Preacher, Susan Thorne.
Jesus said: ‘I am the Good Shepherd’.
Lord, help me to listen for his voice offering comfort and safety.
Hymn StF 248: I heard the voice of Jesus say
Sing/ Read /pray /proclaim the words or listen to it here:
I heard the voice of Jesus say:
‘Come unto me and rest;
lay down, O weary one, lay down
thy head upon my breast.’
I came to Jesus as I was,
weary and worn and sad,
I found in him a resting-place,
and he has made me glad.
I heard the voice of Jesus say:
‘Behold, I freely give
the living water; thirsty one,
stoop down and drink and live.’
I came to Jesus, and I drank
of that life-giving stream;
my thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
and now I live in him.
I heard the voice of Jesus say:
‘I am this dark world’s light;
look unto me, thy morn shall rise,
and all thy day be bright.’
I looked to Jesus, and I found
in him my star, my sun;
and in that light of life I’ll walk,
till travelling days are done.
Horatius N. Bonar (1808-1889)
Let us pray together
Glory to God, creator of heaven and earth,
who has made all things living.
Glory to God, Father of all mercies,
who has given his only-begotten Son to be our Redeemer.
Glory to God, fire of holy love,
who for our sanctification has poured forth his life-giving Spirit.
John Hamilton (1512-1571) from Prayer Handbook 2019-2020 Day 3
Today’s Old Testament Reading:
The Divine Shepherd
A Psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
3 he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I 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 mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
my whole life long.
Reading taken from Biblegateway.com New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Today’s Gospel Reading: John 10:1-10
The Parable of the Shepherd
10 Jesus said, “I am telling you the truth: the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The man who goes in through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him; the sheep hear his voice as he calls his own sheep by name, and he leads them out. 4 When he has brought them out, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they know his voice. 5 They will not follow someone else; instead, they will run away from such a person, because they do not know his voice.”
6 Jesus told them this parable, but they did not understand what he meant.
Jesus the Good Shepherd
7 So Jesus said again, “I am telling you the truth: I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All others who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate. Those who come in by me will be saved; they will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life—life in all its fullness.
Time to Reflect
Don’t forget that you can also tune into the website here every day of the week to listen to church friends sharing daily reflections, including Bible readings and inspiration… or get them on the telephone on 01388 436810… do join us!
If you would like to listen to a sermon for Easter Sunday by Local Preacher Susan Thorne, click on the file below
Click on the image below to go to the pdf rootsontheweb adult sheet with further thoughts on these readings
and/or read the reflection from the Connexional resources below here…
Those who first listened to Jesus would have had two different pictures of sheep-folds in their minds. The first would have been the communal sheepfold in the village — a solid structure with a strong gate and a gatekeeper. Several flocks would be kept together over night. The gatekeeper would only allow entrance to a shepherd who was known to him, whose voice was familiar to himself and at least some of the sheep.
The other picture would be of the sheepfold used when the flocks were too far from the village to come back for the night — an open enclosure with no gate, just an opening, often made of rough stones with a layer of thorn brush along the top. At night, after the sheep were in, the shepherd would lie down in the doorway. He became the gate. There was no legitimate access to the sheepfold except through him. In our reading from John’s Gospel Jesus referred to both these images. He refers to the true shepherd entering by the door, past the gatekeeper; and he refers to himself as the gate, the one who lays himself down that the sheep may be kept safely until the day comes and they can safely graze.
Gates come in many shapes and kinds. Sometimes they exclude to keep the group safe, and sometimes they admit, depending on issues of need and trust. Lately we’ve had to exclude people from our homes for our own safety. All of us have had to become our own ‘gatekeepers’, deciding what level of risk is acceptable, after checking the advice being given and weighing up who and what we feel we can trust.
Jesus lays himself down, risking all, that we may come and go freely, enjoying abundant life in company with Him.
Take a time to sit quietly
Hope and Millie’s Slides
Hannah’s Creative Prayer
From Psalm 23…
Think about your walk of faith so far. Reflect on the pathways the God has made clear and the unexpected detours he has walked you through, while never leaving your side.
Pray about your walk with God and ask him to continue to guide your path as you seek to walk as he walked in the world.
A Time of Prayer
Let us pray for our world in crisis,
a crisis that has brought out the best and the worst in humanity:
We give thanks for those who are offering help in so many ways to those in need;
and pray for those who in their fear acted less generously.
We give thanks for all the ‘key workers’ who have worked tirelessly in medical and care sectors; Local Authority and community teams; production and distribution;
and pray for those now idle, anxious, and depressed due to the closures.
We give thanks for positive voices, encouraging and nurturing others in so many ways;
and pray for those whose voices bring ‘fake’ advice and false testimony.
Good Shepherd of the sheep,
by whom the lost are sought
and guided into the fold:
feed us and we shall be satisfied;
heal us and we shall be made whole
and lead us, that we may be with you;
for you are alive and reign,
with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Collect for Fourth Sunday of Easter from Methodist Worship book.
The Lord’s Prayer
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 trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us
and lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom
The power and the glory
For ever and ever
Hymn: Listen to ‘You are my keeper’
A prayer of blessing
I come into your sheep-fold this day, to find the rest I need. When the new day comes, I will follow you through green pastures and beside still waters. May your goodness and mercy follow me all the days of my life. Amen.
Original Materials by Pamela Cram