Podcast Worship

Daily Prayer for 1 May (Easter 4: Monday)

Listen to a service of Daily Prayer for 1 May 2023, including a reflection on John 10.11-18 (Easter 4: Monday)


O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

In your resurrection, O Christ,
let heaven and earth rejoice. Alleluia.

Blessed are you, Lord God of our salvation,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
As once you ransomed your people from Egypt
and led them to freedom in the promised land,
so now you have delivered us from the dominion of darkness
and brought us into the kingdom of your risen Son.
May we, the first fruits of your new creation,
rejoice in this new day you have made,
and praise you for your mighty acts.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God for ever.

John 10.11-18

Jesus said to the Pharisees ‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away – and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.’ 


Jesus said: ‘The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep.’ 

As a parish priest I am often asked about my ‘job’. People speak of the working hours and other conditions of ‘employment’. These conversations are generally supportive, but they also miss the point. Parish priests are not the only ones who ‘work’ long hours, and whose working lives do not compare with the norms laid down by employment law. Parish priests respond to God’s call by offering themselves up for a life of service in Christ’s name. Whilst there are certainly positions that carry greater authority and responsibility within the priesthood, there is no ‘career path’ to be followed. The invitation to move into one of those more senior posts comes from God, and not from our ability to write a sparkling application form. The life of a parish priest can be challenging, but it is rooted in Christ’s model of love and service, and not that of the hired hand who does not care for the sheep.

A short conversation with any parish priest should leave you in no doubt about their sense of being called, but that calling is not for clergy alone. Christ calls us all into a life of self-sacrificial love and service. We are all called to care for those who are weaker than ourselves. We are all called to defend those who are beset by the wolf, that is those who are assailed by temptation and evil. We are all called to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, offer hospitality to the stranger, clothe the naked, look after the sick, visit the imprisoned and isolated. In fact, we are called to accept and respond to Christ’s call into the priesthood of all people.

Today we are offered the assurance that Christ is the Good Shepherd, the one who does not run away when the going gets tough. Today we are challenged to join Jesus in this ministry of unwavering love and service … even when it is not that convenient. Today we are challenged to be Christ-like in all we say and do, and not to join those who ‘can’t be bothered’ or who seek the ‘easy road’ that takes us in the opposite direction from our Christian responsibilities. 


To Christ, the Lamb who was slain,
and who now lives in the glory of the Father,
let us lift our voices in praise, saying:
risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

Lord Jesus, you are the Amen, the faithful witness,
the firstborn of the dead:
Risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

You are Alpha and Omega,
the one who is, and was, and who is to come:
Risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

You search into the thoughts and affections of all people:
Risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

You reprove and chasten those whom you love:
Risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

You open the eyes of the blind
and set the prisoners free:
Risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

In your paschal victory,
you have proclaimed the coming of the kingdom:
Risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

God of glory,
by the raising of your Son
you have broken the chains of death and hell:
fill your Church with faith and hope;
for a new day has dawned
and the way to life stands open
in our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Rejoicing in God’s new creation,
let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us

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.

The God of peace,
who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus,
that great shepherd of the sheep,
through the blood of the eternal covenant,
make us perfect in every good work to do his will,
working in us that which is well-pleasing in his sight;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among us and remain with us always.