Offertory Prayer

Invitation to the Offering
The offering you made last week empowered ministry within our congregation and in response to the needs of our community. It also helped support the work of ministries beyond the local church that reach people who are in desperate need to feel the touch of love and reconciliation. Through the World Service Fund, your church supports a great tradition of United Methodist support for Higher Education. Providing scholarships and loans, a network of college chaplains, and an ongoing relationship with 113 colleges, universities and seminaries that are part of our connection – together we open doors to education for many deserving students. This ministry happens thanks to the generous support of United Methodists like you. I invite you once again to give generously as we worship God through the sharing of our gifts, tithes and offerings.

Learn more about the work of our General Board of Higher Education & Ministry at www.gbhem.org

September 21, 2014 – Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost/in Kingdomtide
Generous God, you provide for all our needs, if we but put our trust in you. When the Israelites were hungry in the wilderness and began to complain, you gave them bread in the form of manna to eat in the morning, and quail to satisfy their hunger in the evening. You gave just enough, to be consumed with gratitude and trust. Generous God, help us to give with generosity this morning, with gratitude for all we have received from your goodness, and with trust in your faithfulness. We pray in the name of Christ our Savior. Amen. (Exodus 16:2-15)
"Prayers by Ken Sloan. Copyright General Board of Discipleship. www.GBOD.org Used by permission."

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Caring for the sheep, Reflection on John 10:11-15

Important distinction: attributes of the good shepherd with that of the hired hand. A good shepherd is willing to give up his own life to protect the sheep in his care. A hired man is willing to give up the sheep in order to protect himself.

Sometimes we can read these words as reassuring. When I am in trouble, Christ was protect me. Surely, the first Christian communities would have needed such reassurance.

But, we can also read them as prescriptive. We who are the body of Christ, we who are the church, have in our care many who need protection. Or, we should have them in our care.

Look around you. How are the sheep doing in your town? When trouble comes to them, do you run toward them or away?

Another distinction--that may not be important: sheep in my fold and sheep that do not belong to my fold. Who are the other sheep? Do you consider them to be the responsibility of your congregation?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

One slight correction on your reflection on John 10:11-15; specifically to "sheep in my fold and the sheep that do not belong to my fold." In the context of the text, the "sheep in my fold" refers to the Jewish faithful of Jesus' time; see also 'the faithful remnant' in OT. The "sheep that do not belong to my fold" refers to the Gentiles (non-Jews) of that time that would come to faith in Christ. This in no way applies to those outside a specific or general congregation.

Una Malachica said...

I am not sure whether I agree with your interpretation of the metaphor sheep. But, even if I did, I wouldn't want to get stuck there.

My understanding of scripture is that it continues to be a way that the Holy Spirit speaks to us. It is more than dead words applying to an ancient time. It is more than history. It is our story, too.

So, I read what Jesus said and Jesus did in his world and his time, and try to discern what we are to do in our world and our time.