Daily Devotion 04 May 2021

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

John 10:1-4 ‘Sheep and Lambs’

1 Jesus said: “I tell you for certain that only thieves and robbers climb over the fence instead of going in through the gate to the sheep pen. 2-3 But the gatekeeper opens the gate for the shepherd, and he goes in through it. The sheep know their shepherd’s voice. He calls each of them by name and leads them out. 4 When he has led out all of his sheep, he walks in front of them, and they follow, because they know his voice”.

This is definitely the lambing season. I have seen so many farming programmes on the television where lambs were born either naturally or with help. I even think I could give a masterclass on how to check that the head and both front legs are ready to come out first and then clear the mouth and nose from the mucus – perhaps that is enough if you are eating your breakfast, or are a real farmer!

If this knowledge of sheep is prevalent today, how much more so in Jesus’ time, which accounts for him using so many stories and examples relating to sheep, lambs and shepherds. The people who listened would understand the importance of good shepherds, or the dangers faced by a lost sheep, as can we. But some farming practices have changed and we need to think back to the shepherding of those days. At night the shepherds would bring their sheep to a communal sheepfold and either one of them would lie across the entrance or employ someone to act as the gate to keep the sheep in and wild animals or thieves out. Then in the morning, recognising the true shepherds he would let them in to call their own sheep, who would then follow the voice of their shepherd who would lead them to fresh new pastures and keep them safe.

Jesus refers to us as sheep, his sheep, who he knows by name. Each day, as we follow him, he is ready to lead us out into new adventures acting as our guide and our guard. And at night, if you can’t sleep, don’t count sheep but talk to the good shepherd!

Many hymns have been written based on Psalm 23, the psalm David wrote, recalling his time as a shepherd. This one is by Stuart Townsend:

The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want: he makes me lie in pastures green,
he leads me by the still, still waters, his goodness restores my soul.
He guides my ways in righteousness, and he anoints my head with oil;
and my cup – it overflows with joy; I feast on his pure delights.
And though I walk the darkest path – I will not fear the evil one,
for you are with me, and your rod and staff are the comfort I need to know.

Prayer:
our prayer for today is the chorus:

And I will trust in you alone, and I will trust in you alone,
for your endless mercy follows me, your goodness will lead me home. Amen.

Reflection © 2021 Gillian Wood.
Hymn by Stuart Townend © 1996, Thankyou Music. Administered by worshiptogether.com Songs.
Image freely available online.

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All material within this order of worship is reproduced by permission under CCL 1226356