A moment of contemplation for yourself or on behalf of others on everything from the life-altering to the mundane.


Prayer: A conversation with The Higher Other who lives within each of us. An invitation to vent, to re-think, to ask, and to rest.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Prayers of the People: Just Sheeping Along, 4th Sunday of Easter

for Sunday April 26 ,2015, Yr B, Readings: Acts 4:5-12, Ps 23, 1 John 3:16-24, John 10:11-18


       The poetry of Psalm 23 speaks to us in the simplest of terms that belie the intricacy of its depth. Jesus would, of course, have known the psalm and it is a perfect pairing to his continuing "discussion" with the religious authorities in this week's Gospel of John.
       The symbolism in this well-known Psalm is far more complex and fascinating than just the obvious image of a man walking down a country lane with a big staff and a dog, or the pretty girl of nursery rhymes with a bow on her crook as the sheep dutifully follow. Along with the earlier verses in John 10 (which I encourage you to read), taken line by line we can see, feel, and almost hear Jesus, our Shepherd, with us, reviving, caring, comforting, and anointing. Watching over us, preparing our table, restoring us; nothing we need is withheld. 
      Our Good Shepherd's job is never done. The demands on real living shepherds are constant and endless. Sheep are peculiarly needy and helpless creatures, quite restive, and even self-destructive at times. They can stand still for hours or bolt into stampede because an apple drops unexpectedly from a tree. The shepherd must keep continuous vigil against disease, insect infestations, predators, pecking-order fights, escape artists,
water, and food supplies. Sheep will NOT lie down unless they are completely contented and secure. A special oil mixture that the shepherd prepares and swabs (anoints) around each sheep's head and nose keeps deadly insects from burrowing and causing panic, disease, and injury, and the sheep is calmed for at least a little while. Then there are shearing and lambing seasons...
       The sheep know their shepherd's voice and it comforts them. Do we know the voice of our Shepherd? Some days I feel pretty sheepish and need that voice as reminder to get back into the flock. How about you?      


LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ Lord Jesus, Mystical Shepherd, guide our souls to seek shelter in Your verdant pasture, to know Your voice as You know ours, and to heed Your call to eternal life.
  
  Jesus, Cornerstone of our Salvation
RESPONSE:  Help us to live through You and for one another

~ Lord Jesus, Mystical Shepherd, let our love and trust in You show forth by our truth and action in each day. Let us also require truth and just actions on the part of those who govern on this earth, in our nation, and in our city. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Jesus, Cornerstone of our Salvation
Help us to live through You and for one another

~ Lord Jesus, Mystical Shepherd, we ask Your special tenderness for those in Your flock with illness of body, mind, or spirit, and for those who give them care. We pause now as we pray aloud for those in need…

Jesus, Cornerstone of our Salvation
Help us to live through You and for one another

~ Lord Jesus, Mystical Shepherd, lighten and soothe the shadowed hearts of the mournful as You open wide the gates of Heaven to enfold those who have left us in this mortal world. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Jesus, Cornerstone of our Salvation
Help us to live through You and for one another

~ Lord Jesus, Mystical Shepherd, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt intentions and petitions, aloud or silently…

Jesus, Cornerstone of our Salvation
Help us to live through You and for one another

~ Lord Jesus, Mystical Shepherd, revive the souls of own shepherds in this earthly day and time, that together we may abide in Your love and obey the commandments of our God. We pray especially for: add your own petitions.

Jesus, Cornerstone of our Salvation
Help us to live through You and for one another


The Celebrant adds: Almighty God, as we are anointed with Your goodness and mercy all the days of our lives, grant us the desire to lay down all trivial wants and to walk the right pathways, so to dwell in Your glorious house forever. We ask through our Redeemer Christ Jesus, and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, who together with You, live and reign as One God, now and forever.  Amen.


*I commend to you a charming and interesting little book, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by W. Phillip Keller, himself a modern-day shepherd, for a closer look at the connections between the Psalm's imagery and real life sheep farming.



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