Worship Elements: April 26, 2015

March 10th, 2015

Fourth Sunday of Easter

COLOR: White
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Acts 4:5-12; Psalm 23; 1 John 3:16-24; John 10:11-18

THEME IDEAS

The fourth Sunday of Easter is Good Shepherd Sunday, and each year the scripture readings include the twenty-third Psalm and a reading from John 10, describing Jesus as the Good Shepherd. The image of Jesus assures us that we are known and cared for. In Acts, Peter affirms Jesus’ power to heal and names Jesus as the cornerstone of faith. First John points to the human response to the shepherd’s love, reminding us to love one another in truth and action.

INVITATION AND GATHERING

Call to Worship (Psalm 23)

Come, walk in green pastures.
We follow the Shepherd.
Come, lie down in green pastures.
We trust the Shepherd.
Come, dine at the table of abundance.
We are fed by the Shepherd.
Come, dwell in God’s house.
We live in the Shepherd’s care.

Opening Prayer (Psalm 23, John 10)

Loving Shepherd,
you know our names;
you care for us.
When we face darkness and death,
walk beside us.
When we hunger for your love,
fill us with your presence.
When we are fearful,
feed us at your table.
May we dwell in the house of goodness and mercy
all the days of our lives. Amen.

PROCLAMATION AND RESPONSE

Prayer of Confession (Psalm 23, 1 John)

Good Shepherd,
we take your care for granted.
In the midst of your many blessings,
we complain of not having enough.
In the presence of danger,
we fail to trust your abiding love.
When you set a table before us,
we turn aside from you.
Call us back into your care
and help us trust your caring presence,
that our actions may proclaim your truth. Amen.

Words of Assurance (Psalm 23)

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow us
all the days of our lives.
God forgives our failures and calls us back
into the flock.

Passing the Peace of Christ (1 John 3)

God calls us to love one another as God loves us. In this we know the truth of Christ’s peace. Share signs of Christ’s peace with one another.

Response to the Word (Psalm 23, John 10, 1 John 3)

Good Shepherd,
we are the sheep of your pasture,
you know us by name.
We offer grateful thanks for your loving care.
Open our hearts and minds
to the guiding of your Spirit in our lives.
Lead us in right paths,
that we may serve you in truth and action. Amen.

THANKSGIVING AND COMMUNION

Invitation to the Offering (Psalm 23, 1 John 3)

The Shepherd cares for us, providing all that we need in abundance. The Shepherd calls us to love one another in truth and action. May our gifts reflect our trust in the Shepherd’s care. May our offerings show our willingness to love one another.

Offering Prayer (Psalm 23, 1 John 3)

God of love,
you abide with us;
you provide for all our needs
and guide us in your ways.
Out of gratitude for your care,
we bring our gifts before you.
Use them for your work of caring,
that all may feast at the table of abundance,
walk without fear,
and drink deeply
from the cup of compassion. Amen.

Invitation to Communion (Psalm 23, John 10)

God prepares the table for us, offering us a feast of abundant love. Our cups overflow with the bounty of grace, for our Shepherd knows us as no one else can — restoring our souls, healing our brokenness, nourishing us with bread and cup for the life of ministry. Come to the table and feast with the Shepherd.

SENDING FORTH

Benediction (1 John 3)

Nourished by the Shepherd’s abundant love,
go forth to walk in the paths of righteousness.
Love one another in truth and action.
May God’s abundant blessings abide in you forever.

CONTEMPORARY OPTIONS

Contemporary Gathering Words (Acts 4, Psalm 23)

Come to the shepherd!
Walk in the paths of righteousness.
Come to Jesus Christ, the cornerstone!
Ground your life in Jesus.
Come to the Spirit, who abides in us!
Feast at the table of joy!

Praise Sentences (Acts 4, 1 John 3)

God is our shepherd! God cares for us.
Jesus Christ is the cornerstone!
He is the foundation of our lives.
The Spirit abides in us!
And we abide in the Spirit.


From “The Abingdon Worship Annual 2012,” edited by Mary J. Scifres and B.J. Beu, Copyright © 2011 by Abingdon Press. “The Abingdon Worship Annual 2015” is now available.

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