The Protective Shepherd

By Rev Elizabeth Raine

Opening Prayer (adapted from Spill the Beans  Iss.34)

God, our creator,
we are here in this place,
knowing that you are here too.
Help us to still be your faithful people,
part of your earthly flock.
Jesus, our shepherd,
we are here in this place
knowing that you are here too.
Come and guard the gate for us,
feed and water us, our Shepherd King.
Holy Spirit, our inspiration,
we are here in this place
ready for you to surround us with your love.
Breathe life into our tired souls,
renew our purpose and give us hope for the future.
Lord Jesus,
we know that you are the shepherd of our lives,
always looking out for us,
offering protection from a world that can be a scary place.
Thank you for never giving up on us.
Shepherd of our lives,
hear our prayer.

Reading: John 10:1-10 (NRSV)

Jesus the Good Shepherd

10 “Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

7 So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

Reflecting on the Word

Find something woollen in your home. We will be using it to reflect on the story.

Today’s story talks of Jesus’ role as the protective shepherd who keeps the gate to the sheep pen safe. Th sheep trust the shepherd, and respond to his voice when he calls.

Hold the woollen object in your hands and think about who you depend upon and the connections of trust that exist between you and other people. Why do you trust them?

Think about how the sheep relied on the Shepherd to keep them safe, but also trusted him to take them out into the world to find water and food.

In the space below, make a list of the times when you listen out for Jesus’ voice. It could be anywhere. It might be in the morning when you wake up, or the evening before you have your meal, or when you pray. What sort of times and places do you hear the voice of Jesus the good shepherd?

Think about the following questions:

What role do you give to Jesus in your life?

How do you experience the nurturing of Jesus?

What does Jesus mean when he says “I am the gate”?

To what flock do you belong?

Collect for the Fourth Sunday of Easter (from The Book of Common Prayer)

O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people: Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Reflective Prayer (from Spill the Beans Iss. 34)

As you sit at the gate, Lord,
what are you thinking?
Are you wondering…
when those lost sheep might come over the hill
and find their way back to you?
As you sit at the gate, Lord,
does your patience get tested?
Are you wondering…
when we are going to make an appearance,
tails between our legs?
As you sit by the gate, Lord,
do you search in vain on the horizon?
Are you wondering…
who might be the next sheep
to be tempted away?
As you sit by the gate, Lord,
we are so grateful
for the welcome we will receive
as we saunter our way back to you.
Knowing that you, our Shepherd, wait for us.

Blessing (adapted from a Celtic prayer)

May God bless the world in which you move,
small as that may seem,
and bless your home and bless your friends.
May God bless the eyes with which you see,
and bless the ears with which you listen.
May God bless the way you use your hands,
and bless the way you employ your tongues.

And may the grace mercy and peace of Jesus Christ,
be yours, today and always. Amen.

Photo of Rev Elizabeth Raine

Written by Rev Elizabeth Raine

Elizabeth is minister at Tuggeranong Uniting, beginning her ministry here in December 2018. 

Over the years, she has had a number of diverse and interesting placements, such as a school chaplaincy, a tenancy worker with UnitingCare, a congregational minister, a lecturer at UTC, a Presbytery minister, and as an Intentional Interim minister. 

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