Fourth Week of Easter

Readings
First Scripture Reading
Acts 11: 1-18
Gospel Reading
John 10: 1-10

Opening Prayer

Inclusive God, Who gathers all people into the gates of Your heart, pour forth Your purifying Spirit. Purge us of our desire to exclude, and therefore demean others. We want Jesus to be the gateway, but we want to decide who enters and belongs. Our petty hearts must frustrate you, Jesus. You who rose above it all, and we are here dividing, demeaning, deciding and excluding. We misuse the keys you gave us. Our very chosenness becomes our great temptation. Our righteousness narrows the gate to your heart and deafens us to your shepherd’s familiar call. Give us your shepherd’s heart which invites and embraces everyone in the pasture. May your Spirit teach us to trust only you to decide who is pure and belongs. Your outstretched arms are a mighty gate – a safe gate. Expand the minds and hearts of those who wish to divide and narrowly define your Church – and purify in us all behaviors, judgments, words and silences which exclude. Help us never to shrink your arms or drown out your voice.

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