A Call to Worship
Easter 4B 2012
Psalm 23

Gentle Shepherd of all the sheep, we gather to worship and
praise you for the way you heal our hurts and calm our fears.
You lead us safely along the paths of life, strengthening
us, and even walking ahead and preparing the way for us.

Great Shepherd of all the sheep, as members of your flock,
we gather to give you our thanks and to share in worship of you.
Our Lord and Shepherd provides for all our real needs:
giving us refreshment, nurture, rest and loving care.

Pioneering Shepherd of all the sheep, you walk with us through
the darkest of valleys, even carrying us where it is necessary.
You lead us out into the light of God’s goodness, mercy,
and unfailing love; and provide a feast for all God’s children;
so we will surely praise and thank God all the days of our life. Amen.

Prayers of Trust
Easter 4B 2012
Psalm 23

Trustworthy God, the Great Shepherd of your entire flock,
we gather together to offer our thanks for your goodness,
and for the way you gently offer us your guidance and help.
You are the “Good Shepherd”, the one who leads and walks
ahead of us, picking us up when we fall; and who heals, blesses
and sustains us through the dark times of life and living.
Yes, Lord, you do lead us safely along the paths of life,
you do strengthen us, and you do prepare life’s way for us.

Generous God, we know we are always needy people - even
though we like to think we can manage our life and our living,
our relationships and everything that matters to us. However,
O God, the truth is, we are indeed needy people - people who
need God’s unfailing love and tender mercies; people who need
the healing touch of God in our lives; people who need the spiritual,
emotional and physical nurture God gives us; people who need
the rest and trustworthy reassurance that only God can give us.
Yes, our Lord and Shepherd, you do provide for all our real
needs; you do give us refreshment, nurture, rest and loving care.

Guiding God, the deep shadows of life can surely come over us
very unexpectedly, and it is very easy to lose our way in the dark
despair of fear-filled imaginings. Strengthening God, we give thanks
that you have the tools of grace and mercy to lift us free of all that
ensnares us, and from the fears and despair that weighs so heavily
upon us. In hope and trust, we take your hand “Good Shepherd” so
that you can lead us into the light of your glorious presence; and into
the light and love that you shower upon us, all the days of our life.
Yes, Lord, you do lead us out into the light of God’s goodness,
mercy, and unfailing love; you do spread a feast before us, even
in troubled times; and we will praise God all the days of our life. Amen

A Personal Meditation
Easter 4B 2012
Psalm 23

Reassuring God, in all the joys and pains of being human,
I lift up my eyes to see the Good Shepherd ahead of me,
searching out the hazards on the path ahead, so I may be
guided and directed in the way that is pleasing to my God.
Whilst I have my eyes only directed down at the next step,
I lose focus and attention on my Shepherd. I also lose touch
with the world around me where I have been placed to travel.

Creative pause: I need to lift my eyes up to my Shepherd ahead of me.

I do so enjoy these times of rest and restoration beside these
gentle waters, with their refreshment and nurture preparing me
for the next phase in life; but I am not supposed to stay here! As
soon as I am rested, and in the strength that I am given, I am
called to get up and go on with my walking, following on in the
steps of my Shepherd. Even if that path ahead has sharp rocks
or clinging vines, I know my Shepherd has the resources to free
me from all that holds me back, provided that I accept help from
my Shepherd when I need it. Even if the path leads me through
‘death valley’, I know there is light ahead of me, the light of God’s
unfailing love and mercy, and a secure place for me with my God.

Creative pause: My resourceful Shepherd frees me from all that holds me back.

What a feast you have prepared for me, my God - everything that
could possibly be provided for my soul and spirit’s enrichment is
here! Everything, including the presence of people who challenge
me; who seek to undermine me; who relish even the thought of my
downfall; yet in the wisdom of God, they are all here too, enjoying
God’s hospitality – and there is a place with them for me too, knowing
as I do, that I am guilty of the very same offences as my ‘enemies’!
How wonderful it is that I am a child of a pro-active God, who does
not wait for me to be willing to live in God’s presence every day of
my life, but instead, I receive a warm invitation to be in God’s presence—
whenever, wherever, and however I am in my faith journey home to God.

Creative pause: How glad I am that I am a child of a pro-active God.

Unless stated otherwise, all Bible readings and extracts used in these weekly Prayers and Meditations are from
‘The New Revised Standard Version’ Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council
of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

*The additional weekly numbering is from the Revised COCU Indexing Scheme
COCU = ('Consultation on Church Union'); as it offers an easy sequential numbering
for the Revised Common Lectionary for the Church Calendar.

If any part of these Prayers and/or Meditations is used in shared worship, please provide
the following acknowledgement:
© 2012 Joan Stott – ‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year B. Used with permission.


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