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Weekly Update #7: Sunday 3rd May 2020 (Fourth Sunday of Easter)
From the Minister Psalm 23×10 (+2)
The fourth Sunday of Easter is sometimes called “Good Shepherd Sunday” because Bible readings for the day feature images of shepherds and shepherding. Did you know that? I didn’t (either), only discovering this when I came across one person’s choice of ten hymns inspired by Psalm 23. You can listen to all of them here.
There are two versions I would have included that did not make his list. First, I like this psalm to the tune, Brother James’s Air, perhaps out of nostalgia for far-off days when I could sing the descant, effortlessly hitting all of the high notes!
Whether spoken or sung, Psalm 23 still affects many people. Comforting familiarity certainly plays its part in that, but by no means is that the whole story. The twenty third psalm has its hold on us, I suspect, because it says we are not alone; a benevolent, guiding God, accompanies us on life’s journey, including its difficult parts, ultimately bringing us to a good destination: ‘Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.’
Loving Shepherd of your sheep,
We pray for those who hunger for love:
may they lie down in the green pastures of your care.
We remember those walking through valleys of deepest darkness:
may they know your comfort, protection and guidance.
We thank you that you have provided us with the things we need:
Give us grace and courage to follow your path all the days of our lives. Amen.
Based on a prayer by Christine Odell
Carolyn Winfrey Gillette has written a hymn, “Good Shepherd, We Are Not Alone”, which picks up on this theme in our Bible readings. You can sing it to the tune, “Maryton” (“Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts”) or to Tallis’s Canon (“Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow”).
Good Shepherd, we are not alone,
For you protect and love your own.
And we, responding, know your voice;
We hear you calling and rejoice.
Another shepherd might turn back
And flee at danger’s first attack;
But you laid down your very life —
A loving shepherd’s sacrifice.
A thief may well destroy and steal,
But you, Good Shepherd, save and heal.
You lead your sheep to pasture land,
To life abundant, by your hand.
You gather sheep from far and wide —
From folds we know and from outside.
One flock, one Shepherd, there will be —
A loving, blest community.
‘They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of the bread and the prayers.’ (Acts 2:42) We really do live in unprecedented times. In Acts we are told that all these activities of the young church involved being with each other, including spending time in the Jerusalem temple. “Normally”, like them, we would meet up together, but not so now. Yet, we can still learn about the faith (you’re currently reading a reflection about a Bible reading after all). There’s nothing stopping us from praying. We can all, courtesy of modern technology, enjoy fellowship (and don’t tell me you don’t do technology unless you don’t have a telephone). Breaking bread together, however? Well, next time you eat a piece of bread, think of others, and be confident that others are thinking of you as they too break their bread.
For further reflections and prayers relating to these readings, click here.
Bible Exploration Meeting on Wednesday May 6th at 7.15p.m.
1 Corinthians 15:1-11 All the people who saw the risen Christ
Our third forty-minute online conversation about meetings with the risen Jesus. New participants are welcome to join the group. When it’s time for the meeting just click on the link https://us04web.zoom.us/j/71656623717
If you can’t join in online, don’t hesitate to contact Trevor to request a copy of a reflection and the questions relating to the reading.
St Columba’s Coffee and Conversation – Saturday 2nd May at 10.00 a.m.
Missing out on catching up with your church friends? Why not go online to join in with St Columba’s Coffee and Conversation? Bring your tea or coffee, then sit down at your computer to see and chat with others. Conversation lasts for 40 minutes. Everyone may come and go as they please, and the first Coffee and Conversation starts on Saturday 2nd May 2020 at 10.00 a.m.
Following the success of this month’s quiz by video conference we are holding a second one on Monday 11th May, 6.50 p.m. for a 7.00 p.m. start. To take part, email Oliver Storey for the link to join the meeting.
As with the previous quiz, questions and answers will be made available to those not able to connect online.
Keeping in Touch
We will keep in touch with each other. Elders will have a list of members and friends to contact each week, both to provide information and to ensure that people are safe and well. You can contact your designated Elder, the Minister, or Church Secretary.