Worship Elements: April 21, 2024

March 20th, 2012

Fourth Sunday of Easter

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


The good shepherd and the shepherding love of Christ focus today’s readings. While Acts focuses on the unique saving ability of Jesus Christ, John implies that other sheep are part of God’s fold. The familiar words of Psalm 23 become fresh when interwoven with the words of John 10 and 1 John 3. Though not in today’s readings, conjoining Psalm 23 with Isaiah 40:31 provides a vision of strength and comfort.


Call to Worship or Litany (Isaiah 40:31, Psalm 23 )

Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside the still waters.

They shall mount up with wings like eagles.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.

They shall run and not be weary.
Yea though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death I shall fear no evil,
for thou art with me.
They shall walk and not faint.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house
of the Lord forever.

Opening Prayer (Psalm 23)

Shepherding God,
you bring us into your presence
and shower us with your love.
You lead us beside the still waters
and restore our souls.
Touch our hearts and minds,
that we may live your love
and abide in your grace. Amen.


Prayer of Confession (John 10, 1 John 3)

God of many pastures,
we never tire of hearing
the voice of our shepherd;
we never tire of hearing
the call to lay our burdens down;
we never tire of hearing
the invitation to dwell in your house forever.
Forgive us, loving shepherd,
when we try to keep you as our own—
thinking that we alone have your love,
thinking that others wander alone
without your care and guidance.
Open our eyes,
that we may recognize the sheep of your fold
wherever they may be
and whatever they may look like. Amen.

Words of Assurance (Psalm 23)

The one who lays his life down for the sheep
will surely rescue us and lead us to safe pastures.
Through the love and grace of our shepherd,
goodness and mercy shall follow us
all the days of our lives,
and we shall dwell securely forever.

Response to the Word (1 John 3)

Eternal God, our guide and guardian,
you call us to abide in your love
and walk in your grace.
Help us live your love
not only in our words
but also in our deeds.
Enlighten our minds to your teachings,
that we may be servants of your love.
Transform our church,
that we may be shepherds
of your grace. Amen.

Call to Prayer (Psalm 23)

Come, all who are weary and need rest. Come, all who thirst for the springs that well up to eternal life. Come, all who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Lift up your prayers to our shepherd—the one who leads us through the shadow of death, the one who leads us into life.


Invitation to the Offering (John 10, 1 John 3)

The good shepherd calls us to love one another.
We come, abiding in love.
The shepherd of love calls us to give of ourselves.
We come, abiding in faith.
The shepherd of life calls us to be a blessing to others.
We come, abiding in God’s blessings.

Benediction (1 John 3)

Go forth in God’s care,
taking love wherever you go.
We will abide in God’s love.
Go forth in God’s name,
taking Christ wherever you go.
We will abide in God’s love.
Go forth in God’s grace,
sharing mercy with everyone you meet.
We will abide in God’s love.


Contemporary Gathering Words (Acts 4, John 10)

Who is the cornerstone of our faith?
Jesus is our cornerstone!
Who is our shepherd in these dark days?
Jesus is our shepherd!
Who can save us from this world of pain?
Jesus is our savior!

Praise Sentences (Psalm 23)

The Lord is our shepherd, we shall not want.
Praise God, our Lord, and our life!
The Lord is our shepherd; we lie down in peace.
Praise God, our Lord, and our life!


Adapted from The Abingdon Worship Annual 2009, © 2008 Abingdon Press
The Abingdon Worship Annual 2012 is available now.

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