Fourth Sunday of Easter - Reflection by Canon Leslie

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Today is the Fourth Sunday of Easter, when the Gospel reading is part of John’s teaching about Jesus as the good shepherd whose sheep hear and know his voice. The image of the relationship between the shepherd and the sheep to model the relationship between God and the people of God was already well established in the Old Testament as exampled by Psalm 23.  Throughout chapter 10 of his Gospel John develops this image to express who Jesus is.  The theme reaches its climax in verse 11 with Jesus claiming ‘I am the good shepherd.’ This image has inspired many generations of Christians. 
 
For those of you who wanted to do some thinking and preparation for today’s service during the preceding week, I invited reflection on the image of sheepdog. In today’s picture from his book, People Everywhere, Teddy Horsley meets the shepherd with her sheepdog as she walks through the meadow.   
 
Risen Lord, 
you are the good shepherd 
and we are your sheep. 
Teach us to know you, 
as well as you know us, 
that we may dwell safely in your fold; 
now and always. 
Amen. 
 
Next week, the Fifth Sunday of Easter, the Gospel reading is taken from John’s account of Jesus’ last supper with his disciples when Jesus gives to them a new commandment that they love one another.  The image to help us for next week’s theme is hearts. You can find out more about that theme here https://www.prayerforliverpool.org/prayer-resources.html. We would really appreciate you letting us know how you are using these materials.