On this fourth Sunday after Easter, the joy remains.
May the joy live on, just as Jesus does! The Lord has risen indeed!
And you are each warmly welcomed to worship him. Blessings upon you all!
PRELUDE Patty Bell
One: Why do we gather?
Many: Because we are the people of God.
One: Why does it matter?
Many: Because we cannot live alone as God’s people.
One: What shall we say?
All: Thanks be to God for this community of faith!
*PRAISE MUSIC “Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus” UMH 514
We gather today as fellow travelers. Some of us are on the mountaintops of life, celebrating milestones. Some of us are traveling the deepest and darkest of valleys. But we gather together today, regardless of where we are on our journey, seeking the same thing: God’s presence. Lord, we gather seeking you on our journeys. Be with us today in this worship in a way that gives us hope for the future. Amen.
PSALM 23: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie
down in green pastures; he leads me beside still water; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.
TIME WITH THE YOUTH
HYMN “O How He Loves You And Me!” Renew 27
PRAYERS AND OFFERING
We come to worship and are aware that we are in the minority in our community. Our coming to worship marks us as God’s people, and, yet, we know our lives have not always marked us as being God’s unique people. We have participated in behavior and conversation that is unedifying and unloving. We have sat in judgment on others. /we have espoused the ideas that are popular without asking what Jesus would have to say on the matter. Forgive us for being your wayward people. Help us to hear the Good Shepherd’s voice and to follow him more fully in the week to come. Amen.
WORDS OF ASSURANCE
The Good Shepherd came to seek and to rescue those sheep who had strayed from the flock. He came to seek those who are not present with the flock and those who have separated themselves in their hearts. He longs to gather us in his arms and bring us back into the flock. This is forgiveness.
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE: Joys and Concerns
Gracious and loving Lord, we might walk through the deepest and darkest valleys of our lives: sickness, job loss, broken marriages, children who’ve lost their way, and, yes, even death. We know these valleys are a part of life that humanity has had to travel since Adam and Eve. But we know that the valley is not the destination. We know the One who has faithfully led his followers through this valley countless times before. For, you, O Lord, are our shepherd; we shall not want. You, O Lord, lead us beside the still waters. You lead us in the paths of righteousness. We will fear no evil; we will fear nothing in this valley of darkness for you, O Lord, are our Shepherd.
RECEIVING OUR OFFERING
* PRESENTATION OF OUR OFFERING “He Is Lord” UMH 177
He is Lord, He is Lord! He is risen from the dead and He is Lord! Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!
PROCLAIMING GOD’S WORD
PRAYER OF ILLUMINATION
NEW TESTAMENT LESSON: Acts 2: 42-47 PB, pg. 114
GOSPEL LESSON: John 10:1-10 PB, pg. 98
THE MESSAGE: Pastor Vicki Lerdahl
*HYMN RESPONSE “He Leadeth Me: O Blessed Thought” UMH 128
*CIRCLE SONG “Shalom To You”
Shalom to you now, Shalom, my friends. May God’s full mercies bless you, my friends. In all your living and through your loving, Christ be your shalom, Christ be your Shalom.