April 25, 2021
Worship Resources for
the Center for Faith and Giving
Call to Worship
One: Open the gate! The Shepherd is coming!
Many: We hear our shepherd’s voice, calling us by name,
leading us to green pastures.
One: No stranger’s voice will we follow;
we follow the voice which brings us home.
Many: We’ll come to the door.
Gathered as one flock, nurtured by one Shepherd,
One: That Good Shepherd spreads a table before us.
Many: Surely we will dwell in the house of Lord, forever!
(adapted from https://lifeinliturgy.wordpress.com/2015/04/16/easter-4b/)
(if you have someone able to sing, solo, use verses 1 and 3 of CH #558,
Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us, as the opening prayer)
God, you recognize we are so often like sheep without a shepherd.
Today we thank you for sending Jesus as a good shepherd,
and for providing your Spirit,
continuing to work in all times and in all places.
We rejoice in the ways in which our lives are guided and guarded
not by those who run away in the face of danger,
but by the One willing to lay down life itself for the flock.
Continue to fill us with your love, and renew us in this hour of worship,
caring for us as one part of your beloved creation. AMEN
Moment for Stewardship (from I John 3:16-17)
So often we come to worship, eager to be nurtured, encouraged, and reassured. But we also recognize times when we hear the words of scripture, and recognize the HARD questions which challenge us!
Like this text from I John 3:16-17:
We know love by this, that (Jesus) laid down his life for us – and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.
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 help?
(“Refuses help” can also be translated “closes the heart”.
In this Easter-tide, remember how our hearts nearly burst open with the glad news, “Christ is RISEN!”? With that open heart, we know it’s possible for us to respond with compassion when we see needs in those around us.
(name here either
one outreach effort in your local area which could use a financial boost,
use the latest info from Week of Compassion or One Great Hour of Sharing, or lift up your particular middle judicatory or the General Church.)
As we receive our morning offering, may you dig deep in response to the need which is before us, and provide your life-giving gift!
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Holy God, you opened your heart to the world by sending Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Thank you for this opportunity to claim our identity as followers of the One who laid down his life for us.
Let us love, not just in word, but in truth and action! Receive these gifts as our acts of love, to respond to the needs of sisters and brothers.
Invitation to Communion
(if you have capability of showing this 23rd Psalm sung by Aled Jones and his son, Lucas, it would fit as beautiful communion music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKvTPzJFf3M)
One of the most familiar of all Biblical texts is Psalm 23. Of all the images in the text, one powerful picture comes when we hear “you prepare a table before me.”
And here it is! A table, prepared for each one of us, and for all, who will come. This extraordinary table provides not only food and drink, but more than these small portions, this table provides monumental signs of God’s love made visible in Jesus.
Here we recognize it is the Good Shepherd who leads us, restores us, and comforts us. It is the Shepherd who makes our cup overflow.
So come to this table! Find gifts here, so we shall not want:
bread and juice as symbols of abundant life in Jesus Christ.
You are welcome in this place, not only today, but your whole life long.