Sunday Service:
The Good Shepherd

By Sharon Grussendorff

This online Sunday service is an invitation for us to listen more intently to the inner voice of the one who said "I am the Good Shepherd", to allow ourselves to be shepherded from within through this valley of uncertainty that we are journeying through.

As a preparation for the scripture reading, listen to the guided exercise for gathering your attention below, followed by the chant Let me hear, written by John Phillip Newell. You can sing along once you become familiar with the tune, and as you do so, allow yourself to settle and become quiet and attentive:

Guided gathering of attention
00:00 / 03:52
Chant - Let Me HearJ. Philip Newell
00:00 / 07:25

Lyrics:

Let me hear, let me hear, what you will speak

When I turn to you in my heart

Spend some time reading the following passage, listening for what shimmers for you, allowing the Spirit to breathe life into the words.

John 10:2-4, 14-16

The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.  

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—  just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.  I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.

After some time of quiet reflection on this scripture passage you can listen to the following talk on the theme of the Good Shepherd.

The Good Shepherd
Talk: The Good Shepherd

Listen to the following music of Psalm 23, by Michael Card, with visuals:

Introduction to the mornign retreat
Psalm 23 music video

Song lyrics:

The Lord is my Shepherd and so I lack nothing
In meadows of green grass he lets me lie down
Beside the still waters he patiently leads me
Restoring my soul, restoring my soul.

For his holy namesake he guides me by right paths
Though I may stray to the veil of deep darkness
I fear no evil for you are there with me
Beside me your rod and staff they comfort me.

You prepare a table before my enemies
My head you've anointed, my cup's overflowing
Your goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life
And I'll make my home place in the house of the Lord.

Questions for  reflection:

Work with these questions as you reflect on the image of the Good Shepherd. 

  1. What does the image of the Good Shepherd evoke for you? Can you relate this this image? Why or why not?

  2. In his book A Testament to Devotion, the Quaker Thomas Kelly wrote:"There is a deeper, an internal simplification of the whole of one’s personality, stilled, tranquil, in childlike trust listening ever to Eternity’s whisper, walking with a smile into the dark. This amazing simplification comes when we “centerdown,” when life is lived with singleness of eye, from a holy Center where the breath and stillness of Eternity are heavy upon us and we are wholly yielded to Him. …  Hasten unto Him who calls you in the silences of your heart. The Hound of Heaven is ever near us, the voice of the Shepherd is calling us home."

  3. What does it mean for you to ...

  4. How do you "centerdown", living with "singleness of eye, from a holy Center"?

To conclude this morning's reflections, listen to the following traditional South African song, Thula Sizwe, and feel free to sing (and dance) along:

Thula Sizwe
00:00 / 05:15

Song lyrics:

Thulasizwe ungabokhala 

U Jehova wakho uzokunqobela 

(repeat 3 times)

Inkululeko, inkululeko

u Jehova wakho uzokunqobela

(repeat 3 times)

Thulasizwe…

English translation:

Be still, people, be comforted,

Your Jehovah will protect you

 

Be free, be free,

Your Jehovah will protect you

Ending prayer (by John Philip Newell):

That truth has been inscribed into my heart

And into the heart of every human being,

There to be read and reverenced,

Thanks be to you, O God.

 

That there are ways of seeing and sensitivities of knowing

Hidden deep in the palace of the soul,

Waiting to be discovered, ready to be set free,

Thanks be to you.

 

Open my senses to Wisdom’s inner promptings,

That I may give voice to what I hear in my soul

And be changed for the healing of the world.

Amen.

(You can hear this prayer being read by John Philip Newell below)

Prayer for WisdomJ Philip Newell
00:00 / 01:12
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If you are interested in ordering a copy of Sharon's book, Contemplative Living, please email Bonnie Kaplan Kaufmann who is handling deliveries:

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