Morning Prayer Service May 3, 2020

good morning we’re so glad you joined us this morning on Good Shepherd Sunday st Wilfred Episcopal Church if you don’t have a prayer book please just sit back rest in the music rest in the prayers and Hum when you can but if you have a Book of Common Prayer after the introductory music will be on page 80 in the Book of Common Prayer I invite you to open the Book of Common Prayer on page 80 page 80 as we begin

Alleluia Christ is risen Lord open our lips glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen. Alleluia please join me on page 82 as we say together the Jubilate page 82 Be joyful in the Lord all you lands serve the Lord with gladness and come before his presence with a song know this the Lord himself is God. He himself has made us and we are his. We are his people and the Sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with Thanksgiving. Go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and call upon his name. For the Lord is good, his mercy is everlasting, and his faithfulness endures from age to age. If you have a hymnal we are on hymn number 645. 645 We will sing verses 1, 2, 5, and 6 hymn 645 I invite everyone to be seated for the reading A reading from the Acts of the Apostles Those who had been baptized devoted themselves to the Apostles teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers. Awe came upon everyone because many wonders and signs were being done by the Apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common. They would sell their possessions and their goods, and distribute the proceeds to all as any had need. Day by day as they spent much time together in the temple they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts praising God and having the goodwill of the people, and day by day the Lord added to their

number those who were being saved. The word of the Lord A reading from the Gospel of John Jesus said 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 abandoned. 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 had brought out all of 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 the stranger. Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So 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 bandits, 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. The word of the Lord Across the years I have worked hard to improve my communication skills. I mean I grew up thinking I was pretty good with words. I led a winning debate team throughout high school. I won competitions for reading poetry aloud But when I became a parent I discovered that sometimes unwittingly I spoke in a foreign language. I mean I would say something that I thought was a perfectly clear English sentence: go brush your teeth, get your shoes on, it’s time for

school, and everybody would look at me and nobody would move. Years later when I began working as a parish priest, I found a similar phenomenon. I would announce the annual pancake supper in the monthly newsletter and in the weekly bulletin. At the end of the service when I was speaking the announcements aloud I would talk about the pancake supper. I made specially colored flyers and handed them out on Sundays as people left the church. And inevitably someone would call me on Shrove Tuesday with an edge of frustration in their voice and say why aren’t we having the pancake supper this year? I haven’t heard a word have you canceled it? Because of these events I have a level of empathy for Jesus who was apparently misunderstood in many ways throughout his active ministry, and even when he used examples tailored to his audience they didn’t get it. And our passage today from John is an example. So, just before today’s reading, the Gospel of John records the story of Jesus healing the man born blind and following that healing he has a discussion about it with the Pharisees. And Jesus is speaking their language but they are not hearing his words. And finally one of the Jewish leaders asked sarcastically and rhetorically, “surely you don’t think we’re blind do you?” I’m pretty sure he did. And probably deaf too And then comes the passage that we heard today. So he’s using an analogy that his hearers should certainly find familiar. Jesus spoke of the Good Shepherd the one who leads the Sheep to find green pastures and flowing clean brooks, but the scripture says Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying “Never mind,” said Jesus, “Forget the Shepherd thing. Try this one: I am the gate for the sheepfold I’m the gate. I provide safety and protection. Whoever enters by me will be saved.” That can also be translated; whoever enters by me will be kept safe So Jesus as the gate to the sheepfold is a metaphor for God’s promise of salvation So gates and doors are barriers. Barriers which we remember in this Easter season never slowed Jesus down for a minute. I mean the stone to the tomb was rolled away. And when the disciples later huddled behind a locked door Jesus just walked right in. Gates and doors keep people or creatures in or out. So, they can represent safety or exclusion. So, every morning my daughter, Kate, gets up at the same time, stops off at the bathroom, and then goes down the hall to feed the cats. Now, of course, the cat’s eagerly and vociferously anticipate this activity. And so when she disappears and closes the door, every day – as if it had not happened the day before – every day that closed door throws the cats into a frenzy They begin howling and prancing around and Olivia the female is particularly loud. She puts her mouth down to the gap between the door and the floor and yells her displeasure into the bathroom where it echoes. And energetically she reaches a paw under the door and swipes hoping that she can hook Kate by the ankle and pull her through. Now, the same two cats also interact with the sliding glass doors that open out onto our lanai So, when Luca wants to go out he sits primly beside the glass, and he looks out, and he looks at me, and he raises a paw and he taps on the glass, and then he turns to me and goes *meow*. And so I open the door and he dashes through, full of his mission to patrol the perimeter against those lizards. However, if the yard crew rolls up with the lawnmower roaring, Luca is back through that door in a streak And one day it was closed, and he ran head-on into the glass. He was not amused

Doors and gates are both barriers and protections. In these days when we are all huddled behind our own doors, hopefully safe and socially distanced, it is worth asking ourselves about the doors and the gates of our lives. What helps you feel safe and protected? How might Jesus be a gate in your life? When in your life does a door or a gate become an obstacle instead of a protection. But, there is still more in this Gospel reading, because the last sentence is the climax to the whole thing jesus said I came that they may have life and have it abundantly So, he is offering a gift, but what is that gift? What is abundant life? Well the Greek word translated ‘abundant’ is ‘perissos’ and it means more of something, exceptionally more, outstanding, remarkable So, for the man born blind in the previous scripture, abundant life was the gift of his sight Being able to see meant light and freedom. With his sight restored he was released from a life of dependence on others and given a world of new possibilities. Literally, this man was given a resurrection. A new life So then, in this text there are two promises to us We are promised salvation which is wholeness and wellness and health, and we are promised abundant life which is more than enough life, more than we need, extraordinary amounts of life Salvation means to be saved from something Abundant life means we are saved for something. So, both of these promises are ways of talking about God’s love, and what God’s love means to us in our daily lives. Like that blind man. We, too, have been given freedom. We have been saved from death, and saved for abundant life An abundant life means eternal life which is available now. Today. In this moment. And how do we claim these promises? Well we claim them by the acts the three acts of loving one another, loving God, and loving ourselves. I commend to you this past weeks reflection of presiding bishop Michael Curry who speaks on that passage from Matthew where the man comes to Jesus and asks, “out of all the laws of Moses, which is the most important one?” And Jesus said, “You love God with everything you’ve got, and you love your neighbor as you love yourself.” love God, love your neighbor, love yourself. These three tasks are the most important things we do every day. And so, try spending a minute with them in the morning and ask yourself, “What can I do today to love God, and love my neighbor, and love myself.” In this way, we can live the resurrection beyond Easter beyond pandemics and on into Pentecost, and Ordinary Time. Working at loving God, loving others, and loving ourselves is how we get through the days, regardless of what life throws at us. And we don’t do it alone, because as the Good Shepherd, Jesus provides everything we need everything to get through this life and into the next. As the gate to the sheepfold Jesus keeps us safe. That doesn’t mean that bad things will never happen. What it means is that we never face them alone. Jesus promises us abundant exceptional outstanding remarkable life. And that’s not a goal toward which you have to… strive It is a gift. You don’t have to reach under a door and try to snag it in passing. All you have to do is listen to Jesus and respond with those three acts Listen. You are being called by name

Thanks be to God *piano flourish* I invite you to stand and turn in the Book of Common Prayer to page 96 as our Deacon will lead us in the Apostle’s Creed Our service continues on page 97 97 Celebrant: The Lord be with you. Congregation: And also with you Let us pray. Please, join me 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 tresspasses 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. Amen

Celebrant: Show us your mercy O Lord. Congregation: And grant us your salvation Celebrant: Clothe your ministers with righteousness Congregation: Let your people sing with joy Celebrant: Give peace O Lord in all the world Congregation: For only in you can we live in safety Celebrant: Lord keep this nation under your care Congregation: And guide us in the way of justice and truth Celebrant: let your way be known upon earth Congregation: And your saving help among all nations Celebrant: let not the needy Oh Lord be forgotten Congregation: Nor the hope of the poor be taken away Celebrant: create in us clean hearts O God Congregation: And sustain us with your Holy Spirit Celebrant: O God whose son Jesus is the Good Shepherd of your people grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name and follow where he leads who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns one God for ever and ever. Amen O God the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life, and to serve you is perfect freedom Defend us, your humble servants and all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries, through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our being: We humbly pray you so to guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of this life we may not forget you, but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace. So clothe us in your spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you for the honor of your name. Amen Today we remember all who are sick or in any sort of trouble We offer prayers of gratitude for the health co-workers and persons working in essential businesses, who risk their own health to meet our needs. We rejoice with those observing birthdays or anniversaries. We remember all who have died especially Margaret Margot pro-free and all who mourn I invite your personal prayers and intercessions at this time: Please turn to page 101, the General Thanksgiving, and join me Almighty God, father of all mercies we, your unworthy servants, give you humble thanks for all your goodness and loving kindness, to us and to all whom you have made We bless you for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all for your immeasurable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and the hope of glory And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies, that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up ourselves to your service, and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the everlasting covenant make you perfect in every good work to do his will working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight and the blessing of God Almighty Father Son and Holy Spirit be among you and remain with you and those you love this day and always. Amen and please be seated for some… we are singing verses one and two, 1, 2, & 4 from Pass me not O gentle Savior

Oh good morning I hope you’ve enjoyed worshipping as much as I have this morning and thank you to our music department over here all socially distanced and everything it’s not easy so we will have a zoom coffee hour today at 11:45 which should give me time to get home and get it set up and I’ll send out the link via an email you should be able to find this video still on Facebook for the remainder of the day yes yes so if you miss if you missed us or part of us come back and catch us up on Thursdays at 10:15 most weeks we do a Bible study of the gospel coming up for Sunday and that’s done via zoom and I can send you a link if you let me know in advance of Thursday morning the preschool is going to open Monday the Food Pantry will function next end of next week on Friday for clients and if you’re interested in either of those things you can call or email with questions and we don’t have a word yet on when we’re going to meet again for worship corporately in a body and what precautions we’ll have to use for the moment everything remains as it’s been and the bishop will talk to us again in the middle of the month about Rand about the 19th of the month and let us know if that has changed or if it will continue for another week or two I promise none of us wanted to go on too long but none of us want it to end too early either we don’t want to risk anyone becoming sick with this dreadful

disease so if I forgotten anything please keep each other in prayer please be in touch with one another we need contact of any kind and the phone is better than nothing so thank you all Linda dismiss us let us go forth into the word Road rejoicing in the power of the Spirit alleluia alleluia