Fourth Sunday of Easter

Each Sunday, you will find opportunities to worship individually, with your family, or with small groups. Although we are physically separated from one another, we are united in prayer and praise.

Gathering

Welcome

In Jesus’ name, welcome!

First-time participant or one who’s been here many days; child or elder or somewhere in-between; stewards, caretakers, disciples of Jesus, children of God— neighbours all, loved and loving. Welcome. Welcome in Christ’s name!

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God, and the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.

Introit “When you shepherd me”

Opening Prayer

Day by day, God leads us:
to the deep, deep pools of peace,
to the green, lush lawns of grace.

Day by day, Jesus calls us:
to pour out ourselves in service,
to anoint the stranger with hope.

Day by day, the Holy Spirit shows us:
the community we could be,
the family we are called to become.
Hallelujah!

Hymn “I have called you by your name”

Scripture readings

Psalm 23, The Message
Psalm 23, King James Version
John 10:1-10

Hymn “The King of love”

This is among the most beautiful of all the renditions of the Twenty-third Psalm. It was written by Henry Williams Baker, who was ordained in 1844 at age 24.After serving as an assistant pastor for several years, he became the vicar of Monkland, Herefordshire, in 1851. For years Henry worked on a book of hymns that would reflect the grandeur of majestic worship. The first edition was published in 1861, entitled “Hymns Ancient and Modern.” On the British Isles, it was known by its initials; H.A. and M. Because Henry had labored so earnestly over every hymn, editing and changing and deleting words, some called it “Hymns Asked for and Mutilated.” But it became the leading hymnbook in the Anglican church, going through many revisions and selling over 150 million copies. “The King of Love” didn’t appear until the 1868 revision, in the appendix. When Henry passed away in 1877, his friend, John Ellerton, reported that his last words were from this great hymn:
     Perverse and foolish oft I strayed,
     But yet in love He sought me,
     and on His should gently laid,
     And, home, rejoicing, brought me.

Sermon

Responsive Hymn “He leadeth me” – two versions.
One from a Hawaiian beach; one from bluegrass country.

Crises can be “birthquakes” for creativity and joy, as well as grief and loss. “He Leadeth Me” by American Joseph Gilmore (1834-1918) was composed in 1862 during the American Civil War, a time of upheaval and insecurity. He was 28 years old, newly ordained when he wrote the hymn. He didn’t intend to publish it, but he gave a draft to his wife, who had it published under a pseudonym. Gilmore notes, “Three years later I went to Rochester, New York, to preach as a candidate before the Second Baptist Church. Upon entering the chapel, I took up a hymnbook, thinking, ‘I wonder what they sing.’ The book opened up at “’He Leadeth Me,’ and that was the first time I knew that my hymn had found a place among the songs of the church”
He leadeth me: O blessed thought!
O words with heavenly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be,
still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.

Refrain:
He leadeth me, he leadeth me;
by his own hand he leadeth me:
his faithful follower I would be,
for by his hand he leadeth me.


Sometimes mid scenes of deepest gloom,
sometimes where Eden’s flowers bloom,
by waters still, o’er troubled sea,
still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me. Refrain

And when my task on earth is done,
when, by that grace, the victory’s won,
e’en death’s cold wave I will not flee,
since God through Jordan leadeth me. Refrain 

Prayers of the People

Prayer for Each of us (inspired by Psalm 23, John 10)

Loving Shepherd,
You lead and guide,
You walk alongside,
You prepare, you feed, you call,
all of your sheep,
even those of us who are lost,
those of us who stray constantly,
those of us who stay close to your comforting staff.

We are grateful for the lush green pastures of our lives,
and we pause now to offer our thanksgivings for the blessingss in our lives …

(a time of silent prayer)

There are so many who walk in the shadows of fear and suffering and despair, and we pause now, to offer our prayers
for the broken and bleeding places in this world…

(a time of silent prayer)

We also offer our prayers for the sheep of our own flocks, in our families and friends, in this our church and our community, and in those communities around the world to which we are linked.

(a time of silent prayer)

O Loving Shepherd, we have all we need, as we live in You. Amen.

Affirmation of Faith (inspired by Psalm 23)

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want;
We believe in the goodness of God.
We believe God hears and responds to our needs.
We believe God responds to all children everywhere.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, and leads me beside still waters. God restores my soul.
We are grateful that we’ve been blessed with enough water. But we know that many do not have enough. Not enough water, not enough food, not enough peace.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Too many children do not see God’s righteousness. Too many children watch violence, taste hunger, feel fear. Too many children cry from the unspeakable horror of war.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
To become involved is risky. Pain is often contagious. Our hearts may be broken and our lives may be threatened. Yet we hear God calling and we can no longer hide.
Thou preparest a table for me in the presence of my enemies; thou annointest my head with oil, my cup overflows.
Our steps may be small and timid. We may read a book, write a letter, or make a gift. But each tiny step is blessed by God and multiplies.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
God is more relentless than war. God is more pervasive than hatred. God is more insistent than despair.

Blessing

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.
And also with you.
Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Closing Hymn and Dance: “Psalm 23”

A modern balletic rendition
A group interpretation
A pas de deux tow generations of men

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