Sunday April 22, 2018
Year B, Fourth Sunday of Easter
Fourth Sunday of Easter :: White ::
Acts 4:5–12 :: Psalm 23 :: 1 John 3:16–24 :: John 10:11–18
“Good Shepherd Sunday”
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 23
L: The LORD is our shepherd, we shall not want.
P: The LORD will restore our souls.
L: Even though we walk the darkest valleys, we fear no evil,
P: Your rod and your staff give us comfort.
L: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow us,
P: and we shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Loving Shepherd, everlasting God, we come before you today as sheep of your pasture. Lead us, guide us, protect us, and nurture us, we pray. We are drawn to your voice and respond to your call. O God of love we dedicate this time of worship to you. Use this time of worship to strengthen our resolve. Move in us and lead us to gentler paths and still waters. Guide us in your truth for Christ’s name’s sake.
The first letter of John asks the hard question: “How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses to help?” Ouch. That’s hitting pretty hard and pretty directly, isn’t it? And yet as we bring our tithes and offerings we DO help. This congregation is frequently asked by someone for assistance. And as often as we are able, we provide it. I will admit it is not always in the manner the one requesting would like for us to, but we do provide assistance, even if just in the form of a caring ear and a prayer. Your tithes and offerings are what make that happen. As we bring our gifts today, I encourage you to think of those brothers and sisters in need whom our church may encounter this week, and to give in such a way that shows God’s love abides in you.
Gracious and Mighty God, we confess that it is hard for us when we see a sister or brother in need and are not sure what to best do for them. Fortunately, you have given us gifts of prayer and discernment to figure out many good ways to help others. We now bring before you our gifts. We pray that you will use them to help us help our brothers and sisters in need, and that in our actions all will be able to see that your love abides in us. Amen.
Jesus said “I am the Good Shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Jesus was, Jesus is, and Jesus forevermore shall be the good shepherd. And Jesus did lay down his life. At this table of love and remembrance we both accept that gift and give thanks. Amen.
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Scripture Quotations from the New Revised Standard Version. Online Scripture links a service of the Jean and Alexander Heard Divinity Library, of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN. Check out all of the awesome resources there at http://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu