The Great Fifty Days of Eastertide form a single festival period in which the tone of joy created at the Easter Vigil is sustained through the following seven weeks and the Church celebrates the gloriously risen Christ. The Easter candle stands prominently in church for all of this season. The Alleluia appears frequently in the liturgy and white/gold as the liturgical colour for vestments and decorations emphasise the joy and brightness of the season.
Theme: The Cost of Care
Gathering and Opening Prayers
A call to worship and a gathering prayer
The Lord is my good shepherd – and yours.
The Shepherd knows you –and he knows me.
Come and walk with him beside still waters.
Come and have your soul restored.
Come, sheep, and gather: let us flock together.
Come, sheep, and gather: in the shelter of the shepherd –
nurtured and protected, guided and known.
Come, sheep, and gather: in the shepherd’s embrace.
Come, sheep, and gather: let us listen to his voice.
The Collect for Easter4:
faithful shepherd of your Father’s sheep:
teach us to hear your voice and to follow your command
that all people may be gathered into one flock
to the glory of God the Father.
Gathering around the Word
The image of Jesus as good shepherd draws on the imagery of Psalm 23 and elsewhere, and is a familiar symbol for God/Jesus used in both the Old and New Testaments. Here, Jesus makes a contrast between the shepherd and a hired hand, and the ways in which they care for the sheep. He clearly designates himself as the good shepherd, making it no longer a symbol but an opportunity for a relationship as he knows his sheep by name.
Living in community always comes with difficulties but being known and cared for also offers security. We measure so much in society by output and targets; how does our value system change if we measure instead by relationships?
- What does ‘a caring community’ mean to you?
- What are the personal costs of being a caring community?
A ‘Good Shepherd’ Meditation
Imagine yourself(ves) in a sheepfold as you read this meditation, slowly.
The ‘good shepherd’ is here; you/we are his beloved sheep.
Listen to his voice – he says…
I know my sheep. I know you.
I know you on the outside, and I cherish what I see.
I know you on the inside.
…when you are fearful or anxious, and I long to give you peace.
…when you are vulnerable, and I long to protect you.
…when you are confused, and I long to lead you.
…when you are lost, and I long to find you.
…when you are happy, and I rejoice with you.
I am the ’good shepherd’ – come and find pasture.
An Easter Affirmation of Faith:
unusually this week in the form of a Kyrie
Kyrie Eleison, have mercy, Christe Eleison, have mercy.
As we come before You with the needs of our world,
We confess our failures and our sin;
For our words are many yet our deeds have been few,
Fan the fire of compassion once again.
When the cries of victims go unheard in the land,
And the scars of war refuse to heal,
Will we stand for justice to empower the weak
Till their bonds of oppression are no more?
If we love our God with all our heart, mind and strength,
And we love our neighbours as ourselves,
Then this law of love will heal the nations of earth
And the glory of Christ will be revealed.
Lord, renew our vision to be Christ where we live,
To reach out in mercy to the lost;
For each cup of kindness to the least in our midst
Is an offering of worship to the throne.
Prayers of Intercession
led this week by Jason Saw
Response: Father by your spirit, bring in your kingdom.
The Our Father
We join with others of the St Catherine’s family across the globe
in our preferred form or language.
The Sending Out
A sending out prayer
Lord, when we feel lost and confused… Help us to follow the ‘good shepherd’.
When we are tired by caring for others… Help us to follow the ‘good shepherd’.
When we’re tempted by the wolves… Help us to follow the ‘good shepherd’.
When we’re enjoying good pasture and rest… Help us to follow the ‘good shepherd’.
Send us out to be faithful sheep and… Help us to follow the ‘good shepherd’.