The Fourth Sunday of Easter- Jesus the Good Shepherd
As suggested by Jeff, we swap John 10.1-10 (with the emphasis on the hearing the voice) with Matthew 18.10-14, The Parable of the Lost Sheep.
Good morning St Mary's! We start our Sunday school suggestions with the 3-7year olds. Please feel free to skip to the 8+years section if you are older.
1. Opening prayer: "Dear Jesus, thank you that we are together as one family. You love us all and you are present in our house. You are also our good shepherd."
2. Let's explain to our children who is "a shepherd"? It is somebody who cares for sheep and lambs. He knows them, calls them by different names, he knows the way to a lovely meadow where is green grass and the sheep will fed and safe.
3. In today's story Jesus tells that he is OUR good, nay, BEST shepherd. Have a look at this clip:
4. What do we think of the shepherd's care? Was he kind? Is number 100 a big number? He cared for so many sheep, each one was important. It is the same with Jesus. There are so many children in the World, (many more than 100) and Jesus cares for each one through parents, teachers, doctors...
5. How can we respond to Jesus' care and love? Simple, by little gestures of care and love for others. Right now: our family. What can I do to show that I care and that I love my family? Let's do some practice today: maybe watering a plant, help my Mum and Dad with lunch (put the spoons and forks on the table), maybe draw a picture of a sheep for Grandpa and Grandma?
Print off the sheet below and decorate with cotton wool/colourful tissue paper. Or you could write the first letter of your name on the the body of the sheep: A for Anna... including our brothers, sisters and parents...
6. Time to pray. We can say the Lord's prayer together, if we are old enough, or just pray for all whom we love and that take care of us.
The words for the Lord's prayer can be found at the end of this post.
1. Opening prayer: "Dear Jesus, you are my shepherd and I am loved by you. Thank you for your care and protection. As we read today the story about lost sheep, we pray for all people who are yet to be found. Amen".
2. let's talk about our own experience of being lost or even confused. An event from our holidays? Missing a flight? Arriving to a wrong hotel? Not being able to speak the local language? Sat-Nav was not working in the car on our way to our destination? What were our feeling at that moment? Panic? Anger?
3. Reading the Gospel: Matthew 18.10-14.
The Parable of the Lost Sheep
10 ‘Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven. 12 What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14 So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.
What can you tell about shepherd's attitude? Caring? Negligent? Loving? Lazy? He represents Jesus' love for each one of his sheep. They are all together as a community, they are similar to all of us at St Mary's church: young and older, experienced and new born babies.
4. My trust in Jesus: do I trust him? Why? Do I have an experience of his care? Love? What about our Sunday School? This is an opportunity to think about our relationship with Jesus and how he rejoices over each one of us.
5. Let's pray together:
- for all people who are lost in wars and conflicts - for Jesus' presence among them.
- for all Christians who can't worship freely, for God's blessing upon them.
- for all who are helping us in this pandemic: scientists, doctors, nurses, people working in supermarkets, all key works.
- for our church community, especially elderly people (chose one name from our congregation)
- for all departed (maybe some members of our families)
- for us: greater trust that Jesus is present among us.
We say together the Lord's Prayer:
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.