May 2, 2011

Confession & Assurance: Easter 4



We praise you,
O God, for giving shape and meaning
to the ancient image of yourself as shepherd
through the person of Jesus Christ.

In him, your compassion has been eternally revealed,
giving your rod and staff the human face of love.
Through Jesus’ persistence even to death—
in seeking and saving the lost—
your goodness and mercy has been abundantly experienced.
His ongoing life continues to guide and lead us in paths of righteousness.

How can we do other than praise and adore you, O God,
and listen to Jesus’ voice as he calls us to follow him.
And yet, we confess that there are times
when we fail to hear and obey his call
because our lives are so filled with activities and noise.

Forgive us, O God,
for the times when we fail to reach out and accompany
those who are going through difficult times;
those who feel imprisoned in a valley of shadows
and find themselves overwhelmed by life.

Jesus, good shepherd,
help us to take the time and make the space
to hear your call to us.
The call to reveal your love, compassion and comfort
wherever you need us to bind up the wounds
of the victims of today’s society.

Jesus, good shepherd,
help us to take the time and make the space
to hear your call to us.
The call to reveal in tangible and authentic ways,
your passion for those who feel powerless to make
any changes for good in their lives.

Jesus, good shepherd,
help us to take the time and make the space
to hear your call to us.
The call to empty ourselves of all that is contrary to your life within us
so that your goodness and mercies are enjoyed
not as rewards to be hoarded
but as gifts to be shared.
In your name, we pray. Amen.

Jesus himself bore our sins in his body on the cross,
so that, free from sins
we might live for righteousness;
by his wounds we have been healed.
For we were going astray like sheep,
but now have been returned
to the shepherd and guardian of our souls. (based on 1 Peter 2:24 NRSV)

So, hear the good news:
in Jesus Christ we are sought,
we are found,
we are forgiven.
Thanks be to God!

—Moira Laidlaw, posted on her website Liturgies Online.