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Preparation for Worship
Songs: Ask yourself and the people who will be worshipping with you (kids included), “What are some of the songs we sing that talk about God leading us and caring for us?” Play them on Spotify, sing them acapella, or create your own instrumental arrangement.
Bible: You will need a Bible to read from the scriptures. You can use this doc or your phone as well, but I’d recommend using an actual Bible.
This week’s liturgy is based on the following texts: Acts 2:42-47, Psalm 23, John 10:1-10, 1 Peter 2:19-25.
You can decide who will lead the different movements of this gathering. It would be great for every person to have a part.
You are invited to center your hearts for worship by beginning with 2 minutes of silence
Call to Worship
Awaken from your slumber,
and bring your fears and anxieties
into the presence of the Lord our God.
Hear the call of our Shepherd,
and allow His voice
to lead from selfish ambition
to the feast of grace.
May the light of Christ
shine into the hidden darkness of our lives
and restore us
for the service of the Lord.
Come let us worship God.
Written by Rev MaryAnn Rennie, and posted at Church of Scotland’s Starters for Sunday website.
Song of Praise
Sing one or two songs that focus on the risen Savior and God’s saving grace.
Prayer of Confession
O God, Our Good Shepherd—
Your presence fills our lives—
all that we are and all that we have
comes from you;
all that you do declares your love for us.
Yet we are often consumed with wanting more.
Other pastures seem greener.
The waters aren’t always still.
Our souls still thirst.
When trouble comes,
when adversity plagues us,
we wonder where you are;
we even wonder who you are.
How quickly we forget
that you are always with us.
O Lord, we long to be led by you,
though we may complain along the path…
though at times we are afraid…
Dispel our fears and despair.
May we feel your presence,
your comfort and your forgiveness anew.
Spread your table before us,
and feed us from your hand.
Lead us in the paths of righteousness,
for it is in your name that we pray. Amen.
Words of Assurance
Even in the darkest valley,
we need not fear, for God is with us.
God will comfort and shelter us.
No harm will come to us.
Nothing can take us out of God’s hand.
Hear the good news,
In Christ Jesus, we are forgiven.
Thanks be to God!
New Testament Reading
Acts 2:42-47 (CEB)
Hear the word of the Lord from Acts chapter 2,
The believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the community, to their shared meals, and to their prayers. A sense of awe came over everyone. God performed many wonders and signs through the apostles.
All the believers were united and shared everything. They would sell pieces of property and possessions and distribute the proceeds to everyone who needed them. Every day, they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity. They praised God and demonstrated God’s goodness to everyone. The Lord added daily to the community those who were being saved.
Prayer for Illumination
you guide us with your voice,
Help us to listen and follow where your voice leads.
Help us to trust you.
Open our eyes and ears
That we might recognize what you are saying to us. Amen.
(The time of listening is a series of reading the scripture, re-telling the story, and paying attention to where God is stirring your hearts as you listen. Invite everyone to listen to the words of the scriptures and to be ready to re-tell the story.)
A Conversation between Psalm 23 and John 10
Let’s hear the word of God from the book of Psalms and the Gospel of John as they are read in conversation with each other:
Reader 1: Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
Reader 2: The Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing.
Reader 1: When the hired hand sees the wolf coming, he leaves the sheep and runs away. That’s because he isn’t the shepherd; the sheep aren’t really his.
Reader 2: He lets me rest in grassy meadows; he leads me to restful waters;
Reader 1: So the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them. He’s only a hired hand and the sheep don’t matter to him.
Reader 2: He keeps me alive. He guides me in proper paths for the sake of his good name.
Reader 1: Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. I know my own sheep and they know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. I give up my life for the sheep.
Reader 2: Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no danger because you are with me. Your rod and your staff—they protect me.
Reader 1: I have other sheep that don’t belong to this sheep pen. I must lead them too. They will listen to my voice and there will be one flock, with one shepherd.
Reader 2: You set a table for me right in front of my enemies.
Reader 1: “This is why the Father loves me: I give up my life so that I can take it up again.
Reader 2: You bathe my head in oil; my cup is so full it spills over!
Reader 1: No one takes it from me, but I give it up because I want to. I have the right to give it up, and I have the right to take it up again. I received this commandment from my Father.”
Reader 2: Yes, goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life
All: And I will live in the Lord’s house as long as I live.
Listen to the song: The Good Shepherd
Was there a word or phrase that spoke to you?
What words would we use to describe God as we embrace this image of the Good Shepherd in Psalm 23 and John 10?
In what ways has Jesus been a Good Shepherd to you? Where in your own journey might you need to encounter the Good Shepherd right now?
Is there something we should remember for this coming week from what we heard from the scriptures?
Song of Response
Prayers of the People
Prayers are conversations with God. We offer now our prayers and intercessions to God.
O God, our loving Shepherd,
you come to us with the strength, tender mercies, patience and protection of a loving parent.
We see you at work as we live our lives day by day,
and yet we so often fail to trust you or to offer our burdens to you.
Hear us, Lord,
as we lift to you our prayers for others and for ourselves.
We pray for those in need–those who hunger or whose basic needs are not met. (pause)
We pray for those in pain—the abused, brokenhearted and lonely. (pause)
We pray for the sick in body and in mind, and for those who grieve. (pause)
For all those who put their trust in you
for all their todays and all their tomorrows,
we pray that your lovingkindness to the world would be offered
through our hands, our words, our deeds, our hearts.
Free us, Lord, as your own people,
to sing your praise in the work of our everyday lives.
Make us instruments of your peace and grace
in weary days with weary people.
May we faithfully follow your voice in our lives
For you are the Good Shepherd.
And now we pray together the prayer you taught us to pray saying,
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
Go now with your trust in the good shepherd,
and let us love, not just in words,
but in truth and action.
Believe in the name of Jesus Christ,
and love one another, just as he has commanded us.
And may God be at your side, even in the darkest valleys.
May Christ Jesus be the cornerstone of your life.
And may the Holy Spirit abide in you
….and tend you with love and mercy all the days of your life.
We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
…In the name of Christ. Amen.
Copyright © 2003 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net