Worship at Home

Worship for 3rd May 2020

Following feedback we are trying a slightly different format this week. The whole service is reproduced on this page, but if you’d prefer to download the service please click on a button to the right.

Sunday 3rd May 10:30 AM

(or whenever you wish)

This week’s message has been prepared by Deacon Richard Beckett and Linda Leathersich.

This short act of worship is for use while we are unable to attend church.  Pause to settle yourself in God’s presence, knowing that other people are sharing in worship with you.

Download the Service Sheet
Download the Family Activities

Opening Prayer

Jesus refers to himself as the ‘Good shepherd but also as the ‘Gate’. As you say this prayer remember that a gate can be the doorway to new life. After each repeated phrase you might like to use your hands to mime the opening gate:

Praise to God who loves us and gives us life.
Jesus said: ‘I am the gate.’
Praise to God who comforts us and offers us protection when things go wrong.
Jesus said: ‘I am the gate.’
Praise to God who unites us by his Spirit and fills us with his peace.
Jesus said: ‘I am the gate.’
O God, give us the courage and wisdom to enter the gate and to know the abundance of the life you offer.
Amen.

Bible Reading

Psalm 23 New International Version – UK (NIVUK)
A psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    for ever.

Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Hymn: I hear the voice of Jesus say (Singing the Faith 248)

I heard the voice of Jesus say:

‘Come unto me and rest;

lay down, O weary one, lay down

your 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, your morn shall rise,

and all your 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)

Bible Reading

John 10:1-10 New International Version – UK (NIVUK)
The good shepherd and his sheep

10 ‘Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognise a stranger’s voice.’ Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.

Therefore Jesus said again, ‘Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They 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.

Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

(In a collaborative way of doing things today, Linda Leathersich shares some thoughts on today’s Bible passage here, while Richard builds on this in his video message on line. You may want to use both for your reflection if you can.)

Today we come to the 4th Sunday of Eastertide, often known as “Good Shepherd Sunday”.

We are going through strange, scary times and never before have we all needed the reassurance of a good shepherd watching over us and leading us to safety.

There are many mentions of God as Shepherd throughout the Bible – thinking of a Shepherd as he would have been back then, very different to the job as it is now. The Shepherd lived with his sheep 24/7, he defended them, tended them and would lay down his life for them if necessary.

In John 10 v 1-10 we find Jesus in Jerusalem being pressed to say who he really was, that is when he said that he was the Good Shepherd. Jesus said that his sheep knew his voice and he knew them by name and they followed him. My cousin often used to struggle to sleep and she said “she didn’t waste time counting sheep, it was more relaxing to talk to the Shepherd” – that is good advice for each of us. If we talk regularly to our Shepherd then we will know his voice and when he calls us by name, we will be ready to respond. He loved us enough to lay down his life for us, what response are we willing to give in return?

And if we look in the Book of the Revelation (7: v16 & 17) we find “for the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd and will guide them to springs of the water of life and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes”

Here is the promise of the loving care of the Divine Shepherd for all his flock who know his voice. A precious picture in any age, but, right now as we travel through uncertain times and we are not sure where we are heading or how long it will take to get there, it is reassuring to know that we are not alone, the Shepherd is constantly with us, watching his flock. The Lamb that was slain is alive and has become the Divine Shepherd reigning in glory with God. He gives us nourishment for our bodies and comfort for our hearts as he wipes away all tears.

With Jesus Christ as our Shepherd nothing can happen to us which we cannot bear with his help. Talk to the Shepherd regularly and listen to his voice. 

We pray

Loving Lord thank you for being our Shepherd, for knowing us by name and for leading us each day. Help us to hear, not with our ears but with our hearts – to hear your voice in those around us, your word in prayer and worship, your call in the daily routine, your speech in the miracle of life. Remind us of the many ways you speak, and give us a receptive spirit to hear what you are saying. Amen.

(Some words taken from ‘More short prayers’ by Nick Fawcett)

Hymn: The Lord’s my shepherd (Singing the Faith 481)

The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want.

He makes me lie in pastures green.

He leads me by the still, still waters,

His goodness restores my soul.

 

And I will trust in You alone.

And I will trust in You alone,

For Your endless mercy follows me,

Your goodness will lead me home.

 

He guides my ways in righteousness,

And He anoints my head with oil,

And my cup, it overflows with joy,

I feast on His pure delights.

 

And though I walk the darkest path,

I will not fear the evil one,

For You are with me, and Your rod and staff

Are the comfort I need to know.

 

Stuart Townend. 

© 1996 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music.

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.

We pray especially for……….

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.

Amen.

Collect for Fourth Sunday of Easter from Methodist Worship book.

Hymn: Alleluia, alleluia: (Singing the Faith 295)

Alleluia, Alleluia,

Give thanks to the risen Lord,

Alleluia, alleluia, give praise to His name.

 

Jesus is Lord of all the earth,

He is the King of creation.

 

Spread the good news o’er all the earth,

Jesus has died and has risen.

 

We have been crucified with Christ,

Now we shall live forever.

 

God has proclaimed the just reward,

Life for all men, alleluia!

 

Come let us praise the living God,

Joyfully sing to our Saviour.

A Prayer of Blessing –

Walk – though the road may be rocky,
Journey – to the fold built lovingly,
Rest –  in the stillness which is heavenly,
Refresh – where waters flow quietly,
Receive – for God gives abundantly,
Rejoice – for love follows everlastingly.
Amen.

Message by Linda Leathersich. Video message & Order of Service compiled by Dcn Richard Beckett. Some prayers from ‘Singing the Faith Plus’ worship at home resource