* * * SERVICE CANCELLED * * *
Due to coronavirus threat, service is cancelled this morning.
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The Service begins on page 77 of the Book of Common Prayer (BCP).
Alleluia! Christ is risen.
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!
The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
The Confession of Sin
Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name. Amen.
The Invitatory and Psalter BPC p. 80
Leader Lord, open our lips.
People And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. Alleluia.
Jubilate (Psalm 100) BCP p. 82
Be joyful in the Lord, all you lands; *
serve the Lord with gladness
and come before his presence with a song.
Know this: The Lord himself is God; *
he himself has made us, and we are his;
we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise; *
give thanks to him and call upon his Name.
For the Lord is good;
his mercy is everlasting; *
and his faithfulness endures from age to age.
The Psalm Appointed
1 The Lord is my shepherd; *
I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures *
and leads me beside still waters.
3 He revives my soul *
and guides me along right pathways for his Name’s sake.
4 Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I shall fear no evil; * for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You spread a table before me in the presence of those who trouble me; *
you have anointed my head with oil, and my cup is running over.
6 Surely your goodness and mercy
shall follow me all the days of my life, *
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
At the end of the Psalm:
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
A Reading from the Acts of the Apostles 2::42-47
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
The Word of the Lord.
People Thanks be to God.
A Reading from the First Letter of Peter 2:19-25
Canticle 19: The First Song of Isaiah BPC p. 86
It is a credit to you if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly. If you endure when you are beaten for doing wrong, what credit is that? But if you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God’s approval. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.
The Word of the Lord.
People Thanks be to God.
Canticle 10: The Second Song of Isaiah BCP p. 86
A Reading from the Gospel according to John 10:1-10
[Jesus said,] “Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
The Word of the Lord.
People Thanks be to God
Following where The Shepherd leads
This morning’s sermon is titled Following where the Shepherd leads. My text is from the Gospel of John chapter 10 verses 2 to 4. Listen again to what it says “But he who enters by the door is the Shepherd of the sheep. To Him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hears his voice and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own; he goes before them and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.”
In this morning’s Gospel Jesus shared vivid metaphor full of images of sheep and shepherds. It is very clear that those who follow Christ are his sheep. That is us. What makes a Shepherd? And why will any one or any sheep follow a Shepherd? Shepherds are very honest people. They are also very caring. They are very committed to their sheep. They take the sheep to green pastures first thing in the morning. They also take them to where they could find water.
The Shepherds protect their sheep against wild animals. They nurture them when they are sick. They love their sheep no matter how dumb they are. At night they gather the sheep together for protection. They make sure that all the sheep that were taken out were accounted for. If one is missing, they go out to look for even only one sheep to bring it back to the fold.
Jesus used the metaphors of Shepherd and sheep to refer to the relationship between him and his followers. He loves us, his sheep, unconditionally. He loves us more than we can ever know. He is the only one who could lay down his life for us. Because of this extra-ordinary love and mercy, we, his sheep, follow Him.
The familiar words of Psalm 23 epitomizes our understanding of the reason why we follow where the Shepherd leads. When we say “The lord is my Shepherd” we are in essence recognizing our total dependency on a God whose grace and mercy passeth all human understanding. Just as the Shepherd in the dry land of Palestine leads his sheep to still waters so we accept Christ’s direction along right pathways.
As wonderful as these images may be, they still are inherently challenging. First of all, it takes commitment to know the sheep’s names and for a shepherd to be able to call them by name. It also takes a lot of trust on the part of the sheep to follow where the Shepherd leads. The truth of the matter is, leaving a sense of familiarity to follow a shepherd is risky. The sheep can get lost or attacked by wild animals. The Shepherd may not find green pastures for a long time. There may not be water where the Shepherd thinks he could get water. The sheep can even get sick.
As challenging as following the shepherd may be, the Good News is that the shepherd is always present with the sheep. The shepherd does all that he can to care and nurture the sheep. He loves all his sheep as if there is only one sheep.
Let me remind all of us that God is never pleased to leave us doing nothing in our safe sheep folds. He is always calling us to get out and follow him to a new oasis where there will be water. He is always encouraging us to engage in new ministries. He is always encouraging us to break out of the cliques that we have created for ourselves and interact with other sheep outside of our comfort zones. We, like sheep, often resist in following where the Shepherd is leading us. Like the confession in Rite One in the Book of Common Prayer, very often we think, do, or say those things which we ought not to have thought, done, or said. As difficult as it may be for us to confess, thank God Almighty when we do God is merciful and just. He will forgive us all our offences and bring us back to the fold to continue to follow where he leads.
- Phillip Keller in his book “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23” also said that in spite of our lack of commitment to follow Christ, the death of Jesus Christ gives us the realization that we have all been bought with a price. This means God in His infinite mercy sent Jesus to lay down his life as atonement for our sins. This is why we are called to follow where He leads us.
As we follow Christ, we are also reminded to become an instrument that will make this world a better place for others. We are called to be truthful to our Baptismal Covenant. At baptism, we promised to proclaim by word and example the Good News of Christ. We also promised to seek and serve Christ in all persons. When we follow where the Shepherd leads, we are putting our promises to action.
Should we be struggling with following where the Shepherd leads, the Good News is, we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses who have sincerely followed Christ all their lives. We all remember Mother Theresa. Dr. King is another example of someone who showed us how to follow where Christ leads.
As we leave the church this morning, we are all reminded to grasp on the legacy of all those faithful people and above all to appreciates Christ’s love knowing that we serve one God who gives us all enlightenment to follow where He leads. We are to remember that it is time to tear down any dividing wall that may separate God’s children. So, if there is one thing, I want you to remember today, here it is: Christ our Shepherd continues to call us. He says, follow, follow and follow Him. My prayer is that when we hear the calling to follow where he leads, we will all follow Him all the way.
The Apostles’ Creed BCP p. 96
Canticle 11: The Third Song of Isaiah BPC p. 87
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
The Prayers BCP p. 97
Leader The Lord be with you.
People And also with you.
Leader Let us pray.
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 for ever. Amen.
- Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance;
- Govern and uphold them, now and always.
- Day by day we bless you;
- We praise your Name for ever.
- Lord, keep us from all sin today;
- Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.
- Lord, show us your love and mercy;
- For we put our trust in you.
- In you, Lord, is our hope;
- And we shall never hope in vain.
The Collect of the Day
O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people: Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.
A Collect for Sundays BCP p.98
O God, you make us glad with the weekly remembrance of the glorious resurrection of your Son our Lord: Give us this day such blessing through our worship of you, that the week to come may be spent in your favor; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
A Collect for Grace BCP p.100
O God, you have made of one blood all the peoples of the earth, and sent your blessed Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near: Grant that people everywhere may seek after you and find you; bring the nations into your fold; pour out your Spirit upon all flesh; and hasten the coming of your kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
A Collect for Guidance BCP p.100
Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our being: We humbly pray you so to guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget you, but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of your faithful people is governed and sanctified: Receive our supplications and prayers which we offer before you for all members of your holy Church, that in their vocation and ministry they may truly and devoutly serve you;
through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The General Thanksgiving
Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks
for all your goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all whom you have made.
We bless you for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for your immeasurable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we pray, give us such an
awareness of your mercies,
that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up our selves to your service,
and by walking before you
in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.
Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore.
2 Corinthians 13:14
The peace of the Lord
be always with you.