Worship Elements: April 30, 2023

April 1st, 2020

Fourth Sunday of Easter

COLOR: White
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Acts 2:42-47; Psalm 23; 1 Peter 2:19-25; John 10:1-10


In general, we don’t like being compared to sheep. And while the image of God as shepherd may be nostalgically comforting, it doesn’t fit with our everyday lives. But focusing on a God who loves us deeply, who takes care of us and guides us along the way, who will never abandon us, and who calls us by name is an image worth lifting up and preserving, even if it is expressed in an anachronistic way.


Call to Worship (Psalm 23, John 10)

Can you hear the voice of God?
We hear God calling us by name.
Are you troubled or distressed?
We come here to find a place to rest for awhile.
Come and find a guide who knows these lands.
We come to praise our Shepherding God,
whose pathways and doors lead to life.

Opening Prayer (Psalm 23, John 10)

Shepherding God,
bring us into your fold.
Lead us beside still waters
and restore our souls.
Help us see the way we should go,
the way we should live.
Help us hear your voice calling our name.
Enliven this time of worship,
that we may find true life
as we join with others:
praising your name,
celebrating your great goodness,
and sharing your love for all people.


Prayer of Confession (Psalm 23, John 10)

Shepherding God,
be with us in our need.
Like sheep who have gone astray—
we have not heeded your voice,
calling us to follow the right paths,
beckoning us to lie down and be restored;
we have acted as if our salvation lies
in busyness and control.
We do not want to be sheep—
dependent on a shepherd for everything.
We want to do it alone—
to maintain our independence.
Forgive us for rejecting your shepherding care
and your love and guidance.
Forgive us for our need to do it by ourselves,
to be separate from the flock.
Forgive us for doubting your presence
in times of trouble.
Forgive us our despair
in the face of seemingly unrelenting evil
and death.
Lead us back to the path of life. Amen.

Words of Assurance (1 Peter 2, John 10)

Jesus said, I have come that you may have life
and have it abundantly.
In so confessing, we have returned to the shepherd,
the guardian of our souls who welcomes us
with open arms and a glad heart.
Know that the shepherd of our lives
never abandons us, is always calling our name,
and unfailingly loves and forgives us.

Response to the Word (Psalm 23, John 10)

We have heard the voice of God calling our name,
calling us to the path of life.
We give thanks for these refreshing words
of love.


Offering Prayer (John 10)

Generous, life-giving God,
you sent Jesus that we might have life
and have it abundantly.
In response to this great gift,
we now offer ourselves and our resources.
May these gifts help us as a church to be your voice,
calling all people to abundant life
and to their true identities
as your beloved. Amen.


Benediction (Psalm 23, John 10)

We have been refreshed and restored.
We have been called and guided.
Let us go forth knowing who our true shepherd is,
following his path, secure in the knowledge
that goodness and mercy will follow us
all the days of our life. Amen.


Gathering Words (John 10)

Hey, you sheep. Yes, you over there.
Can’t you hear the shepherd calling—
calling you to come and join with the others?
There’s life and love and care and direction here
just waiting for you to hear and see.
So come on in through the gate.
He’s been waiting for you.

Praise Sentences (Psalm 23)

God is my shepherd!
God leads me all the way!
Goodness and mercy go with me all the time!
I’ve got a home with God forever!

From The Abingdon Worship Annual edited by Mary J. Scifres and B.J. Beu, Copyright © Abingdon Press. 

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