Acts 4:5-12: Peter and the other disciples are put on trial by the religious leaders, who ask them by which name or power they have healed the lame man. Peter, in response, tells them that it is by the power of Jesus that the healing has happened. Though they rejected Jesus, he has become “the cornerstone” and is the name through which humanity is saved.
Psalm 23: David celebrates God as his shepherd who provides for him, cares for him, protects him, and in whose house he will live forever.
1 John 3: 16-24: As Jesus laid down his life for us we should lay down our lives for each other. We are called to follow God’s command to love one another – in action, not just in word.
John 10: 11-18: Jesus proclaims himself as the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep, and takes it up again.
(Bible readings summaries by John van de Laar, Sacredise)


Shepherd me, Love.
Lead me out from my attachments.
Lead me to the green meadow of your heart,
your deep well of peace and nourishment.
Fill me with your breath again,
breath of your Spirit.
Lead me in your way,
not mine,
even through darkest canyons
shadowed by death,
for your presence is my safety,
your will my comfort.
You invite me to your table with my enemies
to share with them your grace:
gift that overflows,
blessing that makes life beautiful.
Lead me where goodness and mercy go;
then on every road
I will still be at home in you.
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

Prayer of the Day
Gracious God, help us to live in love and charity with others,
and, as we ask for your forgiveness, enable us to be forgiving.
Take from our lives the hidden grudges and concealed hate.
Forgive us that we have so often denied you;
that like lost sheep we have turned away from you;
that we have sung with our lips what we have not had the courage
to practice in our lives.
Forgive our sins, comfort our sorrows, calm our fears,
and take from us every proud thought.
So fill us with love and concern for others,
and make us ready to help and quick to forgive.
We thank you for every good thing in our lives
for home and friends and family;
for all the beauty and loveliness in the world about us
which has lifted our hearts and made us glad;
for life itself with all its promise and possibility.
We thank you that in every great experience of life,
when it seemed as if we were passing through water and fire
we are not alone, but you were there as companion and friend.
We thank you that we are yours, created for your glory;
that you have called us all by name,
that through Jesus Christ, the great Shepherd of the sheep,
who lived and died and rose again for us,
you have redeemed us;
and that your love will never finally let us go, or ultimately give us up.
We thank you that so often you have come to us
in the ordinary and everyday things of life, in our work and in our leisure .
Help us there to seek you and find you and serve you,
as in Christ you have sought and found and served us.
We ask it for his sake. Amen.
(from Companion to the Lectionary, Vol 3, by Neil Dixon)

An alternate Psalm 23 from Thom Shuman
the Mall is my shepherd,
I shall always need more.
It makes me lie down in mattress stores;
it leads me beside coffee shops;
it restores my greed.
It leads me down paths for the sake of its sales.
Even though I walk the aisles of outlet stores,
I am not afraid,
for you are at my side
your credit cards and coupons – they comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me at the food court
in the midst of shoving shoppers,
you anoint me with cappuccinos,
my latte overflows.
Surely stress and debt shall follow me
all the days of my life (and my kids),
and I shall live at the mall
every day of my life.
(Source: Thom M. Shuman)

An alternate Psalm 23
O my Beloved, You are my shepherd, I shall not want;
You bring me to green pastures for rest and lead me beside still waters, renewing my spirit. You restore my soul.
You lead me in the path of goodness to follow Love’s way.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow and of death, I am not afraid;
for You are ever with me; your rod and your staff they guide me,
they give me strength and comfort.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of all my fears;
you bless me with oil, my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the heart of the Beloved forever.
(Source: Psalms for Praying: an Invitation to wholeness, by Nan C.Merrill)

An alternative Psalm 23
God is my comfort,
my companion in every moment;
when I toss and turn at night,
God rocks me to sleep;
when my fears chase me,
God holds my hand;
when I lose my way,
God brings me back.

As the shadows creep
closer and closer,
you are my light for this journey:
your compassion my walking stick;
your hope the shawl keeping me warm.

When I am surrounded by loneliness
you invite me home.
Setting a place for me
at the kitchen table,
you fill my plate with grace;
turning down the duvet
in the guest room,
you tuck me into your love,
and I am at peace
(Source: Thom M. Shuman 2018, Lectionary Liturgies)

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Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon). This blog may be a help to people planning worship services.
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