Begin with a few moments of quiet.
Invite all present to sit comfortably.
When sitting comfortably, take three deep breaths, as you breathe in feel your lungs filling all the way up, when they are full slowly release your breath and feel your lungs emptying out fully. Repeat this three times.
Now return to breathing normally.
Opening ourselves to the Presence of God in our lives
Have a conversation, allowing each person present a few moments to think about and to reply to the following.
Thinking back over the week, let us share with one another
What is it that I want to say thank you for?
What is it that want to say I am sorry for?
If you like to listen to some quiet music during this, click on it below .
Now begin with the following prayer:
Thank you that we can celebrate Jesus
Thank you for all He did for us
And all that He continues to do
Help us to trust in you
Even when we don’t understand what’s happening
We know you work things for good
Thank you for your love
We love you, God!
In Jesus name, Amen!
Introduce the Gospel
Today is the Fourth Sunday of Easter
Today we hear how Christ is the true Shepherd,
he knows each one personally;
and no one can take away his sheep
We are going to read from the Gospel of John.
Read the Gospel John 10:1-10
Jesus said to his disciples, “Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
Again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Have a Conversation about the Gospel
What do you remember about today’s reading?
Let’s talk about our pet, (or your friend’s pet). How do we take care of a pet?
We make sure it has food and water, and a safe place to play and to sleep. We help it take care of bathroom needs, play with it, care for it. A pet knows it’s owner’s voice. When we call our pet it responds – it knows us and will come, because it recognises us…and wants food. This creature knows that we care about it and will take care of it. In a way, this is a little bit like being a shepherd.
Do you know what a shepherd does?
A shepherd is responsible for taking care of sheep. There are some people who are shepherds now, but in the times of the Bible there were even more of them. The shepherd would guide the sheep to places where they could find grass to eat, water to drink, and a place to rest. Sheep are not always terribly smart, but they learn to follow the shepherd.
They know when he is talking to them and follow along, recognising that he will lead them to good things. If a wolf or a bear tries to come to attack the flock, the shepherd must protect his sheep, and be willing to fight off the predator. Sometimes, the shepherd even acts as a door! See, the sheep would often get herded into a fenced-in space together and the shepherd would lie down right in the opening. Anything that tried to enter or leave the pen would have to come through him first, so he could monitor and make sure all of the sheep stayed safe.
In our Gospel today, Jesus compared Himself to a shepherd. He said that He was the gateway. He is the way to life, and anyone else that might try to stake such a claim is tricking us. We are like sheep, wandering around and needing guidance. We can trust in Jesus to provide for us and to protect us. He said that a good shepherd would even lay down his life for the sheep, and that’s exactly what Jesus did!
We can trust in His promises and rejoice that our shepherd has rescued us from sin and death. We can listen for His voice through prayer, Scripture, and discernment. And we know that He cares. Each of us is precious in God’s eyes, and we can rest assured that He listens when we call to Him, and gives us life. What a blessing! We should thank God for that.
End with a prayer
Thank you, Jesus, for loving me, and for showing me how to live.
I know that if I follow you, I will be happy.
Help me to be loving, even when it is hard. Amen
Here are some activities you might like to complete during the coming week as a reminder of this Gospel today.
Make your own sheep
you will need some cotton wool and glue. The children can simply glue on the cotton wool for a 3D sheep, or dip the cotton wool in paint first and when it is dry design the coloured wool for an alternative looking sheep! You can download a sheep here to decorate:
Left click on each to expand it on screen or right click and select Save Image As to save a copy on your own computer.