Based on John 10:11-18
God, our shepherd, because you have fed us and tended us, we have amassed an abundance that we bring to share today. Help our giving fulfill your goal, that none of your precious sheep should hunger or thirst or face the darkness alone. Teach us to give as you give, to care as you care, to tend as you tend, to love as you love.
God of belonging, Jesus taught us to call you Father, and you have claimed us as your own. Help us in the days and months and years ahead to contemplate the richness and the promise of belonging to you. You have knit us together in our mothers’ wombs, you have inscribed us on the palms of your hands, you have called us by name, you have searched for us when we’re lost. This is goodness. This is mercy. This is grace. This is belonging that is indelible, irrefutable, irresistible. As life gives and it takes from us, you stand by always, to grant ultimate security and offer us an eternal home.
Then let us stop our anxious wanderings long enough that we might drink in the astonishing peace of your presence within us and among us, God. When we run this way and that, like frightened sheep, bring us back to you where our trembling is overcome and our fears are banished. Teach us all that while you may not have promised an easy way for us through this life – you have promised that every path we must face, from beginning to end,
And so, trusting you to be our Good Shepherd always, may we spend our lives in your fold, grateful to claim, for our own image, sheep who are attentive to your voice and your leading, and who are proud to be a part of your beloved flock. With trust, with hope, with gratitude to belong to you, we pray today using Jesus’ own words, as we say together … Our Father …