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.

For deeper reflection on the Good Shepherd:

 

Macrina Wiederkehr wrote the following about our approach to reading sacred texts:

"In the monastic way of abiding with the Word we do not read the text to obtain information. The careful reading of the text is for the purpose of opening our hearts to be formed by the Word of God. We listen to the words so carefully that even our reading becomes a prayer."

I encourage you to spend some time in your own reflection, abiding with the image of the Good Shepherd. You could choose one of the following passages to work with more deeply, or you could work with all of them over a number of days.

 

Luke 15:1-7

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent."

From A Book of Hours, by Thomas Merton:

Good Shepherd, You have a wild and crazy sheep in love with thorns and brambles. But please don't get tired of looking for me! I know You won't. For You have found me. All I have to do is stay found.

From A Testament to Devotion, by Thomas Kelly:

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.

Isaiah 40:11:

He tends his flock like a shepherd:
 He gathers the lambs in his arms
   and carries them close to his heart;
   he gently leads those that have young
.”

From the writings of St Therese of Liseux: 

“What pleases God in my little soul . . . is that He sees me loving my littleness, my poverty, the blind hope I have in His mercy”

“I remember that little children are as pleasing to their parents when they are asleep as well as when they are wide awake”

“O Jesus, Your little bird is happy to be weak and little. What would become of it if it were big? Never would it have the boldness to appear in Your presence, to fall asleep in front of You.”

“"Whosoever is a little one, come to me." It is your arms, Jesus, that are the lift to carry me to heaven. And so there is no need for me to grow up: I must stay little and become less and less.”

Psalm 23 from Psalms for Praying, by Nan Merrill:

O my Beloved, you are my shepherd, I shall not want;
You bring me to green pastures for rest
and lead me beside still waters, renewing my spirit,
You restore my soul.
You lead me in the path of goodness to follow Love’s way.

Even though I walk through the
valley of the shadow and of death, I am not afraid;
For You are ever with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they guide me,
they give me strength and comfort.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of all my fears;
you bless me with oil, my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the heart
of the Beloved
forever.

Listen to the song below as a prayer:

Shepherd me, O GodJohn Michael Talbot
00:00 / 04:05

Song lyrics:

Shepherd me, O God,
beyond my wants, beyond my fears, from death into life.

God is my shepherd, so nothing shall I want,
I rest in the meadows of faithfulness and love,
I walk by the quiet waters of peace.

Shepherd me, O God,
beyond my wants, beyond my fears, from death into life.

Though I should wander the valley of death,I fear no evil,

for you are at my side, your rod and your staff, 

my comfort and my hope.

 

Shepherd me, O God,
beyond my wants, beyond my fears, from death into life.

 

Written by Marty Haugen

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

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

We would appreciate any donations so that we can continue making resources like this available at no cost.
Donate here...
 
A very warm thank you to all of you who have donated so generously.

If you are interested in ordering a copy of Sharon's book, Contemplative Living, please email Bonnie Kaplan Kaufmann who is handling deliveries:

  bonniekaplan5@gmail.com

RETREAT
CENTRE

Tel: 082 465 1514            Email: bestill@solitude.org.za

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
  • White Google+ Icon