Sunday Worship – 21st April 2024 – Easter 4

(All our songs this morning are from Singing the Faith (StF) numbers will be given where available)

Welcome to our Sunday Service, today shared on paper across our circuit and with the congregation at Thornton Methodist Church and led by Rev Christine Crabtree one of our Circuit Ministers.

Click on the blue links to follow them for bible readings and associated links

Call to worship

We come to worship today:
one flock with one shepherd.
Whether at church or at home,
we are all part of your flock.
You call us, and we hear your voice:
help us to respond and come to you.
You lead us, guide us, and care for us:
meet our needs today as we worship.

Song – StF 322 – How sweet the name of Jesus sounds

Prayers of approach

Lord Jesus, your name sounds sweet in our ears.
You are filled with love for us,
and you come to meet us.
We turn away from you, but you seek us out,
calling our names tenderly until we turn to find you.

When we go our own way and lose ourselves,
you come looking, and you lift us and carry us home.
You lead us in good places where we can find nourishment for our souls;
you lead us in paths that steer us away from what would do us harm;
you are our companion in dark and lonely places.

Help us to rest in you in this time of worship,
knowing that you will provide for all our needs,
if we simply accept what you offer us.
Help us to quieten ourselves,
so that we might hear you speak, here, today.


Psalm 23

Song – StF 736 – In heavenly love abiding


John 10:11-18


Fiona the sheep came to fame in November last year, when she was spotted all alone on a remote shore below a cliff in Cromarty Firth in the Scottish Highlands.  She began to attract attention, and people started going to see the place where she was. Cammy Wilson from Ayrshire got together a team to rescue her, not only for the sake of Fiona herself but also to help the farmer, whose flock Fiona came from, who was getting negative comments on social media for not rescuing her.  Mr Wilson sympathised with the farmer, who had tried to rescue her, but had felt he could not put his workers in danger.

photo from  

The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals had also been aware of her plight but had not been able to safely rescue her.  Mr Wilson got together a team to bring Fiona to safety, and admitted that a slip of the foot could make the difference between them being called idiots or heroes.  Thankfully all went well, and Fiona was winched to safety and was able to be shorn for the first time in two years.

Perhaps this is something similar to what Jesus means when he says in John 10: “I lay down my life for the sheep.”  There, he was talking about the dangers sheep faced in that part of the world, from wolves coming to attack the flock; but elsewhere, in Luke 15, he spoke about a shepherd going to look for a missing sheep and not giving up until he had found it.

Questions for reflection:

If you are at home, can you find someone to talk with, as you look at these questions?

Finding and Being Found

Do we find God or does God find us?
What has been your experience?
What stories have you heard from others?
Can we be part of God finding other people?
Do we need a special calling for this, or is this what all Christians should be doing?

Song – StF 481 – The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want

Idiots or Heroes

In your opinion, was Cammy Wilson an idiot or a hero?
Do you see God as having risked everything for us, or was it not actually a risk, because he knew how it would turn out?
Do we take any risks to reach people with the love of God?
What risks is your church family taking, in order to bring other people to God?
If we do not take those risks, what other risks do we face as churches?

Song – StF 518 – Father, hear the prayer we offer

Life in all its fullness

Fiona the sheep was surviving at the bottom of the cliff.  She had survived for two years, finding food and water to meet her needs.  Was this a good enough reason to leave her there, and not take risks to rescue her?
Did she need rescuing?
What would she have been missing out on?
What do people who don’t have faith miss out on?
How can we share with them that fuller life that we enjoy?

listen to this song by City Alight – “Shepherd”.

Prayers of intercession

Give thanks for the times of green pastures and still waters in your life.

Bring to mind the times when God has led you in paths of righteousness – perhaps it wasn’t easy; perhaps you had to say no to something you desired, or someone you wanted to be with. Can you see any growth in you as result, or can you still only feel the pain of self-denial? Be honest with God about this, and ask for trust to see it through.

Pray for people – and you may be one of them – who are in dark places, where they cannot feel God near them. How might they – or you – know the Shepherd’s rod and staff comforting and protecting them? Is there a situation where you need to make that rod and staff real for someone? Pray about how you might do this.

Give thanks for people who are experiencing the laden table of God, and are enjoying times of blessing after trials.

Pray for people whom God has anointed, or is anointing, for his work in a particular situation. Where this will involve danger, for example as an aid worker in a situation of war, pray for strength and safe-keeping.

Ask for trust to know that whatever happens in your life, and the lives of those you love, God’s goodness will be with you and will seek the best for you.

Give thanks that, in all that happens to us, we are held safe in God’s keeping, and in his house. He has promised us life in all its fullness here and now, and in the life to come. Praise him for his promises.

Gather all your prayers together with everyone else who is praying today, as we all join in the words of the Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
now and for ever, Amen.

Song – StF 492 – Christ be my leader by night as by day


May God, whose flock we are,
Jesus, who shepherds us,
and the Spirit, who shows us the way,
be with us all,
wherever we are,
and may we know that we are one flock with one Shepherd.

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