Worship at Home
Worship for 25th April 2021
The Good Shepherd
To listen to the sermon and a hymn dial
Sunday 25th April
Rev Romeo Pedro has prepared this week’s message
This short act of worship is for use from home. Please use this service whenever you like during the week.
Pause to settle yourself in God’s presence, knowing that other people are sharing in worship with you.
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© ROOTS for Churches Ltd www.rootsontheweb.com. Reproduced with permission.
We Acknowledge God
You hear the cry of the needy, and do not wait for us to call before coming to our aid. While we were still lost in our brokenness and sin, you came to us, lived among us, died our death and rose to lead us into life. And so we come to worship, to offer you our devotion and love – our thanksgiving and praise. You are worthy. Praise to our God.
StF 479 The King Of Love My Shepherd Is.
The King of love my Shepherd is,
whose goodness faileth never;
I nothing lack if I am his
and he is mine for ever.
Where streams of living water flow
my ransomed soul he leadeth,
and where the verdant pastures grow
with food celestial feedeth.
Perverse and foolish oft I strayed,
but yet in love he sought me,
and on his shoulder gently laid,
and home rejoicing brought me.
In death’s dark vale I fear no ill
with thee, dear Lord, beside me;
thy rod and staff my comfort still,
thy cross before to guide me.
And so through all the length of days
thy goodness never faileth:
Good Shepherd, may I sing thy praise
within thy house for ever.
We Acknowledge Our Need
Compassionate Christ, you have shown your love in works of healing, forgiveness, and justice, and by giving yourself to us and for us, in your death and resurrection.
Yet, we are slow to love and to serve. We seek to have our own needs met before caring for the needs of others. We fail to give ourselves and choose instead to preserve our safety, comfort, and privilege.
Forgive us, heal us, and teach us to live lives of compassion – following your example.
In extravagant compassion, you have already secured our forgiveness and calls us to live as those who are renewed and thankful. We receive this grace, o Lord, and we want to share it. We are so grateful; we will go and live differently because of what you, Jesus, have done for us.
5 The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. 6 Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and others of the high priest’s family. 7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: ‘By what power or what name did you do this?’
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: ‘Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: it is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 Jesus is
‘“the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the cornerstone.”
12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.’
A psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 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.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
19 This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 if our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: we know it by the Spirit he gave us.
11 ‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
14 ‘I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.’
Listen to: The Goodness of God
Time to Reflect…
On Easter Monday 06 April 2015, we were devastated by the news that our 18-month-old nephew, Judah, drowned in Durban, South Africa. But we were overwhelmed with compassion by people in this circuit and by people from around the world.
On the day of his funeral, the picture that I had in my mind was of my grandmother (who was a subsistence farmer) holding a rejected lamb (feeding it and nursing it as if it was her own child). Yes, that is how we felt in our grief – cared for and loved by God’s people.
If the Easter season is about anything, it’s about restoration, life, and God’s compassionate care for God’s people. These are the themes that come through the readings for this week.
In Acts the disciples, who are put on trial for healing the lame man outside of the Temple, proudly proclaim Jesus as the name by which the healing has happened, and by which humanity is to be saved.
In David’s famous Psalm, God’s care as Shepherd is celebrated. In John’s letter the love of God that is revealed in Christ’s sacrifice is to be passed on through those who are Christ’s disciples as they choose to love one another and lay down their lives for one another.
Finally, in John 10 Jesus proclaims himself as the Good Shepherd who cares for the sheep with commitment and courage, and who lays down his life for the sheep.
In this loving sacrifice lies the hope of resurrection – Jesus boldly declares that he will take up his life again. The message is an essential one as we reflect on the resurrection over the next few weeks. Resurrection can easily be seen as an individual experience of life beyond the grave, but the Gospel uncovers that it is so much more than that. As much as it does offer personal renewal through God’s life, and the promise of eternity, the resurrection also calls us to be life carriers – shepherds who, like Jesus, lay our lives down for others. It is the hope of resurrection that makes sacrifice possible, and that gives us the strength and courage to risk loving and serving others even when it hurts.
Like the people of Israel in Jesus’ time, we long for Good Shepherds who lead with grace, compassion, wisdom, and justice. The examples we have – Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Wangari Maathai, Gandhi – inspire and challenge us and give us hope that the leadership our world needs is possible. For those of us who exercise leadership in any capacity, the Easter vision calls us to use our influence to bring life to others, serve others, and work sacrificially for our communities’ good.
When we gather as God’s people, we are called to build a community of Christlike love. Anyone who has been part of a church knows how hard that can be. But, today, remember that you need others in your spiritual journey and commit to being part of a sacrificial community of love in some way. Then, as we connect with one another in resurrection communities, we are able to bring life to our neighbourhoods, impacting others with God’s care and grace.
This means that much of how we have “structured” and lived our faith as Christ-followers may need to change. From exclusive communities, we will need to learn acceptance and welcome. From being people of judgment and criticism, we will need to become people of love and forgiveness. From being those who focus only on a few issues that directly affect us, we will need to contribute to causes that bring life to people we may never meet.
The energy that resurrection brings cannot be contained. It breaks out wherever it can, and those who seek to live resurrection can only follow where it leads. When we try to stop it or control it, we only fall out of step with Christ. This means that every action, word and thought can be either the reflection of resurrection, or an obstacle to making it visible. The choice is ours – we can be Good Shepherds who care for and lay our lives down for those around us, or not.
We bring our concerns to the Shepherd
Good Shepherd, we bring to you those that are close to us. Protect those who are threatened. Forgive those who are burdened by guilt. Heal those who are broken and sick. Please help us to welcome those who are rejected. Enable us to share with those who have little or nothing. Help us take the time to really know one another and love as you have loved us.
Good Shepherd, teach us to speak for those who are voiceless, to defend those who are oppressed and abused, to work for justice for those who are exploited, to make peace for those who suffer violence, to take the time to recognise our connectedness, and to love as you have loved us.
Good Shepherd, help us to be faithful to the calling you gave us to be shepherds in your name
The Lord's Prayer
Please use the version that you prefer
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.
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be your name,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
On earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
As we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
And deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power
and the glory are yours
Now and for ever.
StF 481 The Lord's my Shepherd
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.
The Lord bless us and keep us;
the Lord make his face shine on us
and be gracious to us;
the Lord turn his face toward us
and give us peace.
(Deuteronomy 6: 24-26)
Service prepared by Rev Romeo Pedro
Webpage: Paul Deakin