Easter Four, Year B

Musical Reflection
Wolves (Song of the Shepherd’s Dog) by Iron and Wine

Claude_Monet,_Saint-Georges_majeur_au_crépuscule

Invocation

Lord of the sheepfold,
whose love is not for hire,
who calls the victims of the world:
we thank you that Christ
laid down his life for us
when we could not help ourselves;
in the weakness of his love
give us strength to work for peace
in the world he came to serve,
through Jesus Christ, the good shepherd.
Amen.
First Reading
The Sheep Who Fastened the Sky to the Ground
by Oni Buchanan
After I found out that you were a sheep,
it was always afternoon, and I stood trembling
at the pasture fence, my hands full of dandelion
and the longer grasses. How could I call you

to come near? We had no names and only
this place, this sun, the hill and its limitless sky
held together by your gentle outline as you leaned
toward tufts of grass. How beautiful you were,

so still, so close to moving. I gathered
bouquets of clover, strung violets from the fence slats.
Sometimes I whispered, but the words disappeared
before I knew what they were or what they meant.

Once I saw darkness. I remember my eyes were open
and there was nothing, only black, and my heart aching
as I felt for my face and I was still human. While I cried,
stars came and traced sheep in the sky and the voice that knew

never spoke. I fell asleep mistaking the scent of hay
for your breath. To wake once from the sleep in which
you are held, in which your name emanates without utterance
from the being that cradles you—There is no other sleep.

Now it is always afternoon. How can I call you
when we have no names? I search
for the clover and violets. There are always enough.
My shadow is always the same length and shaped

with arms and legs. Between us, the distance of field is green
and exact; the sun gleams from its cloudless height—I know
that there is enough time, that there is always enough.
Please. Come to me, remember me: undo this world.


Second Reading
A Wolf is at the Laundromat
by Jack Prelutsky
A wolf is at the Laundromat,
it’s not a wary stare-wolf,
it’s short and fat, it tips its hat,

unlike a scary glare-wolf.

It combs its hair, it clips its toes,
it is a fairly rare wolf,
that’s only there to clean its clothes—
it is a wash-and-wear-wolf.

Monet-_Der_Rosenweg_in_Giverny

Gospel Reading
John 10:11-18

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd would die for the sheep. The hired hand, who is neither shepherd nor owner of the sheep, catches sight of the wolf coming and runs away, leaving the sheep to be scattered or snatched by the wolf. That’s because the hired hand works only for pay and has no concern for the sheep.

“I am the good shepherd. I know my own sheep and they know me, just as Abba God knows me and I know God. I give up my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that don’t belong to this sheep pen. I must lead them too. They will listen to my voice and there will be one flock, with one shepherd.

“This is why Abba God loves me: I give up my life so that I can take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I give it up because I want to. I have the right to give it up, and I have the right to take it up again. I received this commandment from my Abba.”

 

 

Musical Reflection
The Wolves (Act I and II) by Bon Iver

Monet-000098.jpg_4

Good Shepherd Prayer
John van de Laar

Good Shepherd,
Teach us to follow you
to care for all that are close to us,
to protect those who are threatened,
to welcome those who are rejected,
to forgive those who are burdened by guilt,
to heal those who are broken and sick,
to share with those who have little or nothing,
to take the time to really know one another
and love as you have loved us.

Good Shepherd,
Teach us to follow you
to spread compassion to those who are far away,
to speak for those who are voiceless,
to defend those who are oppressed and abused,
to work for justice for those who are exploited,
to make peace for those who suffer violence,
to take the time to recognise our connectedness,
and to love as you have loved us.

Good Shepherd,
Teach us to follow you
and to be faithful to calling you gave us
to be shepherds in your name.
Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father/Mother/Parent,
who is in us here on earth,
holy is your name in the hungry who share their bread and their song.
Your Kindom come,
which is a generous land which flows with milk and honey.
Let us do your will,
standing up when all are sitting down,
and raising our voice when all are silent.
You are giving us our daily bread in the song of the bird and the miracle of the corn.
Forgive us for keeping silent in the face of injustice,
and for burying our dreams, for not sharing bread and wine, love and land, among us, now.
Don’t let us fall into the temptation of shutting the door through fear;
of resigning ourselves to hunger and injustice;
of taking up the same arms as the enemy.
But deliver us from evil.
Give us the perseverance and the solidarity to look for love,
even if the path has not yet been trodden,
even if we fail;
so we shall have known your Kindom which is being built forever and ever.
Amen.

Musical Reflection
Mama Wolf by Devendra Banhart


Blessing

May the cross be the sign
in which we begin again
to undo the cords of violence,
the misery of exclusion,
and proclaim the love
without conditions;

and the blessing of God,
the Rock, the Redeemer, and the Friend,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.

water-lilies-40

Sources:

Artwork by Claude Monet

Invocation and Blessing from Prayers for an Inclusive Church by Steven Shakespeare

Musical Reflection Wolves (Song of the Shepherd’s Dog) by Iron and Wine

Poem The Sheep Who Fastened the Sky to the Ground by Oni Buchanan

Poem A Wolf is at the Laundromat by Jack Prelutsky

Musical Reflection The Wolves (Act I and II) by Bon Iver

Prayer from Sacredise

Lord’s Prayer Latin American Paraphrase

Musical Reflection Mama Wolf by Devendra Banhart

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