CALL TO WORSHIP:
O Divine Voice, You sing and the universe comes into being;
O Divine Breath, You breathe and all things spring to life;
O Divine Word, You call and creation is sustained;
O Divine Flesh, You are born among us, and the Creator is clothed in creation;
O Divine Spirit, You contain all that has been formed;
O Divine Life, You are the pulse of all that is;
And so, in faith and expectation, in wonder and celebration we remember this mystery:
In you all things live and move and have being,
In all things, you live and move and express your Divine artistry;
And so, we join with creation in the eternal song of worship and devotion.
READING John 10:1-21
The Parable of the Kind Shepherd
1 Jesus said to the Pharisees, “Listen to this eternal truth: The person who sneaks over the wall to enter into the sheep pen, rather than coming through the gate, reveals himself as a thief coming to steal. 2 But the true Shepherd walks right up to the gate, 3 and because the gatekeeper knows who he is, he opens the gate to let him in. And the sheep recognize the voice of the true Shepherd, for he calls his own by name and leads them out, for they belong to him. 4 And when he has brought out all his sheep, he walks ahead of them and they will follow him, for they are familiar with his voice. 5 But they will run away from strangers and never follow them because they know it’s the voice of a stranger.” 6 Jesus told the Pharisees this parable even though they didn’t understand a word of what he meant.
7 So Jesus went over it again, “I speak to you eternal truth: I am the Gate for the flock. 8 All those who broke in before me are thieves who came to steal, but the sheep never listened to them. 9 I am the Gateway. To enter through me is to experience life, freedom, and satisfaction. 10 A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect—life in its fullness until you overflow! 11 I am the Good Shepherd who lays down my life as a sacrifice for the sheep. 12–13 But the worker who serves only for wages is not a real shepherd. Because he has no heart for the sheep he will run away and abandon them when he sees the wolf coming. And then the wolf mauls the sheep, drags them off, and scatters them.
14 “I alone am the Good Shepherd, and I know those whose hearts are mine, for they recognize me and know me, 15 just as my Father knows my heart and I know my Father’s heart. I am ready to give my life for the sheep.
16 “And I have other sheep that I will gather which are not of this Jewish flock. And I, their shepherd, must lead them too, and they will follow me and listen to my voice. And I will join them all into one flock with one shepherd.
17 “The Father has an intense love for me because I freely give my own life—to raise it up again. 18 I surrender my own life, and no one has the power to take my life from me. I have the authority to lay it down and the power to take it back again. This is the destiny my Father has set before me.”
19 This teaching set off another heated controversy among the Jewish leaders. 20 Many of them said, “This man is a demon-possessed lunatic! Why would anyone listen to a word he says?” 21 But then there were others who weren’t so sure: “His teaching is full of insight. These are not the ravings of a madman! How could a demonized man give sight to one born blind?”
1 Kings 19:
”…. a sound of sheer silence. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. covered his head with his cloak, while the Lord passed by”
17 When I saw him, I fell down at his feet as good as dead, but he laid his right hand on me and I heard his reassuring voice saying: Don’t yield to fear. I am the Beginning and I am the End, 18 the Living One!
“17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of rules about food and drink, but is in the realm of the Holy Spirit, filled with righteousness, peace, and joy. 18 Serving the Anointed One by walking in these kingdom realities pleases God and earns the respect of others.’”
“To enter through me is to experience life, freedom, and satisfaction. 10 A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect—life in its fullness until you overflow!”
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about [meditate on] such things.
I know those whose hearts are mine, for they recognize me and know me, 15 just as my Father knows my heart and I know my Father’s heart.
Look at how much encouragement you’ve found in your relationship with the Anointed One! You are filled to overflowing with his comforting love. You have experienced a deepening friendship with the Holy Spirit and have felt his tender affection and mercy.
Stories to read “imaginatively”:
- Genesis chapters 2 and 3 [Adam and Eve]
- Luke 4:1-13 [Jesus tempted in the wilderness]
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
My mouth shall speak wisdom; the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.
Phil. 2: 12 ff.
Now you must continue to make this new life fully manifested as you live in the holy awe of God—which brings you trembling into his presence. 13 God will continually revitalize you, implanting within you the passion to do what pleases him.
14 Live a cheerful life, without complaining or division among yourselves. 15 For then you will be seen as innocent, faultless, and pure children of God, even though you live in the midst of a brutal and perverse culture. For you will appear among them as shining lights in the universe, 16 offering them the words of eternal life.
I hope you will give meditation a try, and if so, that you will enjoy finding the way to meditate that best suits you. The best suited meditation style for me, is to meditate while walking or jogging!
God bless you in the week ahead.
 The Passion Translation (TPT) The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017 by Broad Street Publishing® Group, LLC. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The PassionTranslation.com