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 about God’s love and care 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 4:5-12, Psalm 23, 1 John 3:16-24, John 10:11-18
You can decide who will lead the different movements of this gathering. It would be great for every person to have a part.
Call to Worship
Leader: Come, bring all of your joys and pain into the presence of the Lord our God.
All: Hear the call of our Shepherd, and allow His voice to lead you to the feast of grace.
Leader: May the light of Christ shine into the places of our lives that need wholeness and healing.
All: May God restore us for the service of the Lord.
Leader: Come let us worship God.
Song of Praise
Sing one song that focuses on God’s love and God’s call.
New Testament Reading
It says in 1 John chapter 3, 16 We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. 17 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?
18 Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. 19 And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him 20 whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; 22 and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.
23 And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.
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.
Let’s remember together what was said in these readings. What was said first? What happened next? (go around the circle and tell the story to each other. Try to remember as many details as possible.).
What part of the scripture grabbed your attention? Why do you think that part stood out?
Let each person in the circle take a turn to wonder about something in this text . . . a word, a phrase, something that happened in the text, something that you’re thinking about . . . Start out by saying “As we read these texts, it made me wonder . . . ”
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?
Prayers of the People
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
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 sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
Go with this blessing.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
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