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  • Writer's pictureJohn M

Weekly Liturgy : April 15-21

Good Shepherd Kelly Lattimore ©2019
Good Shepherd Kelly Lattimore ©2019
John 10:11-18

The Message


11-13 “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary. A hired man is not a real shepherd. The sheep mean nothing to him. He sees a wolf come and runs for it, leaving the sheep to be ravaged and scattered by the wolf. He’s only in it for the money. The sheep don’t matter to him.


14-18 “I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own sheep and my own sheep know me. In the same way, the Father knows me and I know the Father. I put the sheep before myself, sacrificing myself if necessary. You need to know that I have other sheep in addition to those in this pen. I need to gather and bring them, too. They’ll also recognize my voice. Then it will be one flock, one Shepherd. This is why the Father loves me: because I freely lay down my life. And so I am free to take it up again. No one takes it from me. I lay it down of my own free will. I have the right to lay it down; I also have the right to take it up again. I received this authority personally from my Father.”


 

REFLECTIONS:

Thoughts from John, Pastor of Community Development:


Sometimes it is easy for me to look at the world and conclude that, if there really is a God, that God must be pretty disinterested in engaging the world and showing up to do anything about the pain and the suffering. Sometimes if feels like we’ve got a minimum-wage-employee-who-just-wants-their-paycheck running the show around here. In the face of evil and danger, I want a God who shows up with strength and authority to rid the world of suffering and crush those who would inflict it. And when this God fails to show up, I wonder: so is there even a God at all?


When I read this week’s text, I can’t help but imagine God smiling at me wryly, ready to reply: You’re so close to the truth, John. That god doesn’t exist at all.


A God who shows up in the face of need without coercive power and strength, but instead gives up God’s power and surrenders God’s own life is not a God I am quick to imagine. But it is the God we have.


And there is something undeniably beautiful about a true God who refuses to show up as just another wolf.



 

PRACTICE:

Outward Mindset Application

When you encounter conflict this week, focus on possible solutions, rather than affixing blame.


Non-Violent Communication Question of the Week:

We 21st century humans are conditioned to intellectualize our feelings - that is, to think about them and what they mean, rather than experiencing the sensation of our emotions in our bodies. How long are you able to sit with your emotions, particularly the negative ones?


Pathways toward Centeredness

Tradition (Loving God by engaging ritual and symbol):

Here’s an ancient prayer from the Christian tradition…

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

This week, find 5 minutes each day to repeat this prayer, saying one line with each breath.


Questions for Reflection

Imagine the kindest, most benevolent version of God possible. Can you believe that version of God might in fact be the one we actually have?

 

“Liturgy” refers to the habits and practices humans use to form community around shared values and meaning. At Church at the Park, we desire to be a community of practice, becoming people who see the world through the eyes of the marginalized, making meaning through the lens of pain and suffering, and committing ourselves to non-violence in a wounded world. This weekly email is intended to provide pathways of practice for becoming the type of people who embody these values.


Many of our reflections on each week's text come from other sources. If you're interested in reading more of what inspires us, here our our two favorite reflections.


Copyright (C) 2023 Church at the Park. All rights reserved.



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