Scattered But Worshiping Together
Fourth Sunday in Lent
March 22, 2020
At 11 am gather in a common area in your home.*
In the center, place a lit candle (real or electric)
Someone say out loud;
We give thanks for the light of hope—
Our hope in Christ shines on.
We give thanks for the light of peace—
The peace of Christ lights our way.
We give thanks for the light of joy—
The joy of Christ brightens our lives.
We give thanks for the light of love—
The love of Christ comforts and challenges.
Thank you, God, for your light in this world through Jesus Christ.
The light shines in the darkness.
And the darkness has not overcome it.
Prayer (Or you can pray in your own words)
illumine our hearts and minds as we read the Scriptures,
so that by the power of your Holy Spirit
we may see what is good and right and true.
And seeing, help us to do what is pleasing to you,
so that your glory becomes visible in our words and deeds.
In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.
Scripture Reading for the Day – Psalm 23
Invite someone to read it from a bible or perhaps say it from memory.
We are living in a time when many people are fearful. They are afraid of getting sick or they are afraid of a loved one getting sick.
How many times this week have my own children called or texted me to tell me to stay at home and not go out where people are. Even my friends here are worried for me. It’s nice to be loved like that and we should be careful, but it’s also good to remember that the Lord God is our protector, and our provider.
David was a shepherd and so he really knew what a shepherd did for the sheep. He was the one in this passage who called God his own Shepherd. He saw that God was his provider and protector and that nothing he really needed would be kept from him. He knew that God his Shepherd would take care of his real needs.
Sometimes in life we get distracted by things we think we need. And we will do amazing things to provide for ourselves the things we want. But David says that there is nothing that we really need that God won’t provide for us. So the question becomes, what are the things that we really need?
Think about it for a moment, what are the things that we as sheep, as humans really need??
There is a hint there, following that first verse. He provides us with places to rest, emotionally and spiritually. He gives us what we need physically, like refreshing water. (Sheep are like camels and can go a long time without water and then when they get to water they can drink up to nine litres.)
But one of the most helpful things he give us is directions on which way to go. Do you want to know how to live? God will show you. Do you want to know what to do with your life? God will show you. He guides us along right paths. Paths that will keep us safe.
David says that there are times when life gets really dark for us or sad. Times when things just aren’t working the way we think they should be. Maybe it’s that someone we love is sick, or maybe we lose a job that was good. There are lots of times when life is just a disappointment. Its not what we thought it would be like.
These days seem to be like that for our world. A big surprise and shock that sickness could travel around the world like it is. It’s effecting whole countries in really bad ways. So for the world it is a time of walking in a dark valley.
David says that the followers of God, will also sometimes go through valleys like that. Times in life when we are just sad or hurt. The man who wrote this psalm, David, also had some really sad times in his life so he knew what it was like. But he reminds us that we go through the valley, we don’t get stuck in there. We don’t get lost in there if God is our shepherd.
You see, our shepherd has a “Rod and a Staff.” The rod was a big club that the shepherd kept in his belt and on the odd occasion when the sheep would start to wander off he would use the rod to remind the sheep to stick together. The staff was more of a long stick that he walked with and he could just tap the sheep to bring them back on the right safe path. The staff also was used when wild animals would come to bother the sheep. The shepherd would use the staff to protect the sheep.
David says that for us who have God as shepherd, there is comfort in knowing that God will lead us and protect us, and He will remind us how to live.
God provides for us exactly what we need, when we need it, for body and for soul. Whatever we need, when we need it. Occasionally we think we have a need that isn’t being met, but perhaps we only think we need it. Maybe God knows that it wouldn’t be helpful for us, even though we think it would be.
But we can trust him to know what’s best for us, all the time.
And sometimes the people who don’t like us are surprised that God provides for us so well.
God does take good care of us. We can be sure of that.
When God is our shepherd his goodness and love for us follows us all our lives. Whether we are ten or a hundred, it doesn’t matter how old we might be. And whenever our time on earth is completed, whenever that is and however that comes, the best part is that one day we will live with him in his house forever.
That kind of love is amazing to us.
It was amazing to David who wrote this for us to remember to make God our shepherd too.
Ask or think of some things to pray about
Take time to pray together.
May the Lord bless us and keep us.
May the Lord make his face to shine upon us
and be gracious to us.
May the Lord turn his face toward us and give us peace.
In the name of God, who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
For a printable copy of the above service, click on the link below: