Home Service for Sunday, 10 May 2020. To be used in conjunction with this weeks Read Mark, Learn – 9 RML 100520
Entrance from Watching the Kingfisher by Ann Lewin
Pause at the threshold
Of the sacred space:
Prepare for fresh
With the Holy one.
As we prepare ourselves to come before our Heavenly Father today let us pause be still and listen to Joanna singing and playing for us “Be still” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXcK4llU4mI
Lord Our Heavenly Father, May we be surprised by what you have in store for us today.
May we be excited to spend time alone with you. To set aside time in these uncertain times to rest in the knowledge that you are with us, walking beside us with your arms wrapped around us and upholding us. You are the constant Lord Jesus, let us not take our eyes off you. Amen
We all pass through rough times, as indeed we are now as a country and world but one thing we can always rely on, is that the Lord will be with us. Some of you may remember this song from your Sunday School Days. It has been a constant comfort these last few weeks and I find myself constantly singing it…it is one of those catchy tunes! You might like to sing along! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gbvZWCS_uo
When the road is rough and steep
Fix your eyes upon Jesus
He alone has power to keep
Fix your eyes upon him.
Jesus is a faithful friend
One on whom you can depend
He is faithful to the end
Fix your eyes upon Him!
Reading: Psalm 23 – The Passion Translation (TPT)
‘The LORD is my shepherd’. Does this sound familiar? Psalm 23 is one of the most recognisable chapters in the entire Bible. Even those who do not attend church have likely heard this psalm before. When passages like this become familiar, we tend to not pay close attention to them. When we see it in our Bibles, it can be tempting to think, I know what this says already. Why read it again? Here’s why… the Bible is a living document. In 2 Timothy 3:16–17, Paul writes, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” The Bible never changes, but it always changes something in us when we read it. The Word of God always has something new to teach us, even if it’s from a familiar passage. The Passion Translation Bible is a new, heart-level translation that expresses God’s fiery heart of love to this generation, using Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic manuscripts, merging the emotion and life-changing truth of God’s Word.
The Good Shepherd (David’s poetic praise to God)[a]
The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd. [b] I always have more than enough. He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love.[c] His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss.[d] That’s where he restores and revives my life.[e] He opens before me pathways to God’s pleasure and leads me along in his footsteps of righteousness[f]
so that I can bring honour to his name. Lord, even when your path takes me through
the valley of deepest darkness, fear will never conquer me, for you already have! You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way. Your authority is my strength and my peace. The comfort of your love takes away my fear. I’ll never be lonely, for you are near. You become my delicious feast even when my enemies dare to fight. You anoint me with the fragrance of your Holy Spirit;[g] you give me all I can drink of you until my heart overflows. So why would I fear the future? For your goodness and love pursue me all the days of my life. Then afterward, when my life is through, I’ll return to your glorious presence to be forever with you!
Some notes of explanation on Psalm 23
a. Psalm 23:1 Most scholars conclude that Ps. 23 was written by David
when he was a young shepherd serving his father, Jesse, while he was
keeping watch over sheep near Bethlehem. He was most likely sixteen or
seventeen years old.
b. Psalm 23:1 The word most commonly used for “shepherd” is taken
from the root word ra‘ah, which is also the Hebrew word for “best friend.”
This translation includes both meanings.
c. Psalm 23:2 The Greek word for “love” is agape, which is a merging
of two words and two concepts. Ago means “to lead like a shepherd,”
and pao is a verb that means “to rest.” Love is our Shepherd leading us to
the place of true rest in his heart.
d. Psalm 23:2 The Hebrew word menuhâ means the waters of a
e. Psalm 23:3 Or “He causes my life [or soul, Heb. nephesh] to return.”
So often life drains out of us through our many activities, but David found
that God restores our well-being by pursuing what pleases God and resting
f. Psalm 23:3 Or “circular paths of righteousness.” It is a common trait
for sheep on the hillsides of Israel to circle their way up higher. They
eventually form a path that keeps leading them higher. This is what David
is referring to here. Each step we take following our Shepherd will lead us
higher, even though it may seem we are going in circles.
g. Psalm 23:5 The word oil becomes a symbol of the Holy Spirit.
Some questions and thoughts for your reflection on this familiar Psalm
As our world is so chaotic and unsettling at the moment, ask yourself, “Am I allowing God to lead me?” God is always in control of what is happening, but we also have free will. That means we can choose to let God lead our lives. If God is our Shepherd and
we give Him control of our life, look at what there is to gain!
• God will meet our needs.
• He will give us peace.
• He will restore us.
• He will lead us down a path of righteousness and not destruction.
Have I stopped moving and pitched my tent in the valley? Sometimes we get bogged down in our circumstances and just decide that is the way it will always be. We figuratively pitch our tent in the valley. This tends to rob us of the joy that can come from our relationship with God. Don’t choose to camp out put one foot in front of another while asking the Lord to provide a way forward.
Have I lost sight of God’s faithfulness? If you feel like you have, stop and make an actual list of all the ways that God has been faithful to you. Even on your worst day, you will see God’s blessings overflowing in your life if you look for them.
Song: The Lord’s My Shepherd sung by Aled Jones and Russel Watson
Here are the traditional words:
The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want;
He makes me down to lie
In pastures green; he leadeth me
The quiet waters by.
My soul he doth restore again,
And me to walk doth make
Within the paths of righteousness,
E’en for his own name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk in death’s dark vale,
Yet will I fear no ill:
For thou art with me, and thy rod
And staff me comfort still.
My table thou hast furnished
In presence of my foes;
My head thou dost with oil anoint
And my cup overflows.
Goodness and mercy all my life
Shall surely follow me;
And in God’s house for evermore
My dwelling-place shall be.
Let us use this song as a prayerful meditation to our Father God. Maybe you might like to close your eyes sit back and listen to the words.
I love You, Lord
And I lift my voice
To worship You
Oh, my soul, rejoice
Take joy my King
In what You hear
And let it be a sweet, sweet sound
Let it be a sweet, sweet sound
Let it be a sweet, sweet sound
In Your ear
The King of love my Shepherd is,
Whose goodness faileth never;
I nothing lack if I am his
And he is mine for ever.
Where streams of living water flow
My ransomed soul he leadeth,
And where the verdant pastures grow
With food celestial feedeth.
Perverse and foolish oft I strayed,
But yet in love he sought me,
And on his shoulder gently laid,
And home, rejoicing, brought me.
In death’s dark vale I fear no ill
With thee, dear Lord, beside me;
Thy rod and staff my comfort still,
Thy cross before to guide me.
Thou spread’st a table in my sight;
Thy unction, grace bestoweth:
And O what transport of delight
From thy pure chalice floweth!
And so through all the length of days
Thy goodness faileth never;
Good Shepherd, may I sing thy praise
Within thy house for ever.
Reading from Watching for the Kingfisher, by Ann Lewin
Time out of time,
Drifting on Spirit’s breath.
Celtic Blessing from the Iona Community
Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the Son of peace to you.