*A traditional service based on lectionary readings for Easter 4 – Psalm 23,
John 10:1-10, Acts 2:42-47, and 1 Peter 2:19-25*
- Crown him with many crowns
- Amazing grace
- When I survey the wondrous cross
- Jesus! The name high over all
- How great Thou art!
- The Lord’s my shepherd
Call to worship: Psalm 100 (NLT)
Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
Prayers of praise and confession
O King of Love,
our suffering servant
who carried our sins to the cross
that we might be free of them;
who suffered the blows of nail and hammer, whip and thorn
that we might be whole;
who sought us out when we had no idea
who we were or where we were going
that we might be kept for good by the guardian of our souls …
… thank You
for the life that You make possible:
(men) a life full of Your goodness and unfailing love;
(women) a life unimpeded by want;
(men) a life permeated by peace and plenty;
(women) a life undefeated by struggle, fear, or loss;
(men) a life blessed in spite of those who seek to pull us down or see us fail;
(women) a life unbounded by earthly laws of death and dis-ease.
Forgive us, Generating Father,
for reducing the fullness of life in You and with You
to dreams of success and prosperity,
a promotion at work,
a particular car.
Forgive us, Guiding Shepherd,
for forsaking the right paths
which bring honor to Your name
for the fast track
to our desires and ambitions.
Forgive us, Gift-giving Spirit,
for allowing so many thieves and things
to rob us of the energy, the resources, the time
that You’ve entrusted to each one of us.
Forgive us, Gathering God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
for neglecting the neighbor who needs help,
the enemy who needs grace,
and the unbeliever who needs the Good News
proclaimed and lived out by Your people in this place.
This day, as we hear Your gentle voice inviting us by name,
may we enter wholeheartedly into the kind of life You lived
and the very life You gave
that we might live with You forever and ever.
The Lord’s Prayer
Welcome and notices
Scripture reading: John 10:1-10 (The Message)
Let me set this before you as plainly as I can. If a person climbs over or through the fence of a sheep pen instead of going through the gate, you know he’s up to no good—a sheep rustler! The shepherd walks right up to the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. They won’t follow a stranger’s voice but will scatter because they aren’t used to the sound of it.”
Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.
Sermon suggestion: A Burglar-proof Life/Thieves and Robbers
The Good Shepherd promises a life that is full, that is abundant but we have mistaken the blessings of a life lived in God’s presence with physical trappings of wealth or success. Sometimes the very search to acquire such things is what lands us in the deepest, darkest valley wondering why God has abandoned us. And sometimes we help the very things which seek to steal, to kill, to destroy our peace, our righteousness, our passion, our belovedness etc. get in over the fence. Reclaiming the “feast” of life requires not only following the Shepherd who knows us and who calls us by name, but also becoming aware of and guarding against the very day enemies that seek to put us on another path.
The peace of the Lord be with you.
And also with you.
*the peace is shared*
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
Blessing and honour, glory and power,
are rightly Yours, all gracious God who,
from the beginning, created us for a life of plenty, of abundance.
When we wandered off on our way,
forsaking the vastness of Your green meadows,
rejecting the peaceful streams and quiet places,
relying on our strength rather than Your perfect provision,
we found ourselves in the darkest valley
and cried out to You for comfort and protection.
So you sent to us a Saviour
who lived our life
and died our death upon the cross –
a Shepherd who would guide us back
to the wide open spaces of Your grace.
Therefore, with the universe that You have created,
the company of heaven,
and brothers and sisters who gather throughout the world
in Your loving name, we proclaim:
Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of Your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
As the first Christians gathered together,
and ate with glad and generous hearts,
so we come to Your table,
and we remember
how, at supper with Your friends,
You took bread, gave thanks, broke it and said:
“This is my body, broken for you.
Eat in remembrance of me.”
In the same way, after supper,
You took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them saying,
“This is my blood, poured out for you and for everyone.
Drink in remembrance of me.”
Dying, You destroyed our death.
Rising, You restored our life.
Lord Jesus, come in glory.
So send Your Holy Spirit upon these gifts of bread and wine
that we might truly feast with joy and gladness.
Keep us from the things that would rob us of our passion and our purpose.
Anoint the wounds that still worry us.
Speak peace into the closed doors of our homes and our hearts.
And make us ever mindful of the invitation to walk within Your goodness and Your unfailing love
all the days of our lives.
*Holy Communion is shared*
Offertory and intercessory prayers
May God, who led our Great Shepherd up and alive from the dead
to make all things whole,
put us together and provide us with everything we need
to bring glory and pleasure
to the One who creates, redeems, and sustains our lives –
always and forever.