Almighty God, merciful Father, since You have wakened from death the Shepherd of Your sheep, grant us Your Holy Spirit that when we hear the voice of our Shepherd we may know him who calls us each by name and follow where He leads; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
For eleven years, from 1983-1993, the sitcom Cheers was a “must-see” for a lot of people. Set in a Boston bar, its quirky characters even included a Missouri Synod Lutheran. Woody Harrelson’s character had a serious crisis when he discovered that his girlfriend was in fact a member of an ELCA congregation. Of course, no one else could understand why this was a problem. Woody declared it to be a potential mixed marriage.
Every episode began with the theme song which featured a line about the bar. It was a place where everyone knew your name. In an increasingly complex world, and let’s face it, the 80’s seem simple compared to what we see today, that line expressed a deep longing in human hearts. We crave community and relationship. Even the misanthrope among us, the person who rejects society, is not really rejecting relationships, but rejecting the sort of relationships he or she has experienced. Human beings are simply wired to be in community. The prayer notices that Jesus calls us each by name. It was Jesus who wrote that need for community into your very being. He is the Word by which the universe was made (John 1:1-3). He understands you better than you understand yourself. He knows what you need. We call Him the Good Shepherd this week. It is an image which is familiar all of us, it is an image which speaks of his great love and care for you as an individual. He knows your name. Your life is precious to Him.