Gospel: John 10:1-10
"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 a bandit. 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 has brought out all 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 strangers." 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 gatekeeper opens the gate for the shepherd.
Do you have a gate at your house, outside or inside? Who's in charge of the gates - why? What do the gates do?
Gates open and shut. Here's a classic fingerplay:
"Open, Shut Them"
big kids can have fun teaching little ones).
do a fun (socially-distant) version, too!
Older kids might enjoy taking a look at
, from the Harry Potter books. (PS I used to pat the shiny snout of Il Porcellino, when I lived in Florence!)
The shepherd calls his sheep by name.
Why are names important?
Why were you given the name that you have?
Would you choose a different name?
Do you have a nickname?
What would life be like if you didn't have a name?
Who or what have you named?
Sing this song, and instead of "the whole world" put in
, and others' names, too: "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" - try it, it's a great feeling to hear your name being sung! (Thank you, Nancy Jukins!)
Here's a beautiful version
He's got - your name - in His hands!
The sheep follow the shepherd, because they know his voice.
Whose voices do you know? Can you imitate them?
What if the sheep didn't follow their shepherd?
Jesus also says: I am the gate. Enter by the gate, be saved: come in, go out and find pasture.
Inside the gate is safety; outside is the whole wide world.
Jesus came so we may have life - and have it abundantly.
means something like: much more than enough, more than you ever knew you wanted or needed. What does abundant life feel like?
If you could give someone something
, what would you give, and to whom? How would that gift make the person who received it feel?
Thank you, Jesus the Shepherd who knows my name and calls to me;
Jesus the Gate, who protects, welcomes, and encourages each of us.