The Parishes of Crail and St Ayle

Reflections from Rev. John Murray 

Sunday April 25th 2021

Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Let us worship God together.

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Psalm 23:  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 forever.

 

John 10:11-18   "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  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.  The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep." 

"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me - just as the Father knows me and I know the Father - and I lay down my life for the sheep.  I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen.  I must bring them also.  They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.  The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life-only to take it up again.  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."

Worship Prayer

 

Lord Jesus, Good Shepherd, as a shepherd gathers their flock so you have gathered us today to feed and refresh us.  Some of us come before You rejoicing, because our path has led us through green pastures and you have filled our cup of happiness to overflowing. Some of us come before you battered and bruised by life, because our path has led us through dark and frightening valleys and we need to know your strength restoring our souls.  Many of us, like foolish sheep, come before you ashamed, because we have wandered astray instead of following you.  We all come to ask and receive your forgiveness.  Bring us back from where we have wandered and set our feet on the path that leads to life.  Speak your word of pardon, Lord and remind us that you said: “I have come to seek and to save that which was lost.’’

May we hear your voice afresh speaking to us today and draw closer to you.  We entrust ourselves to you.  And look to you to guide us.  We pray this in your name, Amen

Lord’s Prayer

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 forever.

 

The King of love my shepherd is, whose goodness fadeth never, I nothing lack if I am his and he is mine forever

 

I am the good shepherd

 

Jesus says he is the ‘good shepherd’.  The word ‘good’ can also be translated ‘noble’ or ‘beautiful’.  There is a sheer attractiveness about what Jesus as shepherd is offering.  The ‘beautiful’ shepherd is willing to die for the sheep, unlike the ‘hired hand’ who abandons them at the moment of crisis.  It is a costly care that places the shepherd in danger.  We cannot now see Jesus our shepherd with our eyes but he lives and is our Good Shepherd directing and caring for us.  And the One who went through the greatest crisis, and came out the other side, is more than able to be with us in our crises.  And sheep being silly beasts have all sorts of crises!

 

And as we think about this shepherding care, we can read again the words of Psalm 23, and apply to ourselves the constant protection, refreshment, and guidance which is there for us.  And it’s the voice of the shepherd that is the channel of the knowledge that the sheep have.  The voice travels farther than sight for an earthly shepherd, and for us, just as sheep have ears that hear a shepherd’s voice, so we can listen and hear that voice of the Good Shepherd.  I heard the voice of Jesus say, ‘come unto me and rest’.

What a friend we have in Jesus

 

Let us pray

 

Father, as we pray, increase the depth of love in us.  Give us such love that Your sheep, both inside and outside the fold, may be found, given health, strength, food and the ability to enjoy life to the full and the joy to praise You.  We thank you that Jesus is the Good Shepherd and for your grace and mercy that has made us part of His flock.  Thank you that you watch over your flock.  You know us by name, you understand what we are like, you call us to follow and You accompany us along the path, seeking us out when we stray, keeping a loving eye on what we do.  Lead us into your future on the adventure of faith.

Eternal God, as Jesus and the early Church cared for those in need, and took out the message of the shepherd who lay down his life and took it up again, be with the church in our generation, as it seeks to do the same thing in communities in our land and all lands.  We pray for the East Neuk foodbank and those who keep it going and those who benefit from it.

We pray for all those who face hunger and homelessness with no way out; refugees from war and violence whose lives have been torn apart.  And for communities in poor countries suffering from the effects of climate change and harsh economic and political forces.  Be with the world rulers and leaders who bear the responsibility of government.  We pray for those undergoing persecution and injustice as they witness to you and your goodness.

We pray for those going through dark valleys with ill health of mind or body.  Shine your light Lord into dark and gloomy places and bring an awareness of your invisible and loving care.

And in the sanctuary of our heart may we always hear your voice, and know you to be with us.  We come in the silence to be still and let you hear what we are bringing for your help with today.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers, for the sake of Christ, our Saviour and our friend, Amen

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Rejoice with me, I have found my lost sheep

 

Be blessed

God of Peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of an eternal covenant, make us perfect in goodness so that we may do Your will, and the blessing of Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, remain with you.

 

We have a number of large print New Testaments and Psalms for anyone that would like them. Just call John on 01333 311630